There are few topics hotter in the industry today than sustainability. As organizations grapple with government directives for sustainable business practices and customers demand publication of sustainability metrics related to supply chain management, many organizations are prioritizing improvements in sustainable business practices. Moreover, with more attention paid to energy consumption of compute operations, organizations are turning their attention to energy and carbon consumption of computing platforms as a central focus of broader sustainability efforts.
Data centers consume up to three and a half percent of global energy, and this number is expected to grow over the next decade with the advance of artificial intelligence, driving up the demand for data center computing. As organizations look to scale compute capability while ramping sustainability practices, the right industry partners are a critical choice. I was delighted to catch up with the server and sustainability team at Hitachi recently to learn more about how they work with customers on this massive challenge.
Leading the Way in Compute Sustainability
Hitachi Vantara is an organization imbued in the cutting edge of sustainability best practices. Bart Gugelot, Hitachi Vantara’s sustainability center of excellence lead, described his organization’s efforts for defining and operating sustainability best practices that aim to deliver a net zero carbon footprint. Bart described the broad view the company takes in working with customers on their sustainability goals, noting that they go well beyond the energy efficiency of infrastructure boxes delivered. This starts with their European based center of excellence where they build proof of concept and deployment scenarios for customers without a single box shipped and returned, saving significant carbon emissions in remote delivery of equipment. This center of excellence is run using the most advance power and cooling technologies tapping solar and wind based green energy and groundwater sourced cooling techniques. The center of excellence is operating as a carbon neutral facility today and is the proving ground for corporate wide carbon neutral operation by 2030.
This dedication puts Hitachi in an excellent position to partner with leading customers on their own sustainability journeys by sharing best practices. Hitachi, of course, also is keenly focused on the sustainability of their solutions offerings. Bart described Hitachi is the only storage vendor today that is carbon neutral certified. Their mid-tier storage arrays, for example, are energy star certified and offer up to 96% CO2 reduction and 50% smaller infrastructure footprint. This matters a lot as organizations look at metrics like carbon utilization efficiency for management of data center operations. Hitachi is also employing technology like data deduplication to ensure that every array deployed delivers maximum effectiveness for the carbon and energy consumed.
While less attention has been paid to storage infrastructure sustainability given compute’s relatively large energy footprint, much can be done to modernize storage environments as part of an organization’s broader sustainability plans. This starts by looking at re-tiering of storage within a data center and taking advantage of advanced storage technologies including high capacity SSD based arrays that drive up GB stored per watt and per square foot of data center real estate.
As we turn to 2024, I expect that more organizations will place data center sustainability high on priority lists given government and broader organizational pressures. In my 2023 TechArena Sustainability Report I identified both building deep relationships with industry leaders and tackling storage sustainability as key focus points for any organizational strategy. In my mind, engagement with the Hitachi Vantara team would be an excellent place to begin on that journey. To learn more about Hitachi’s sustainability initiative watch their Sustainability episode of Unbreakable? with Kari Byton or visit their website. You can also read more on Hitachi Vantara’s Unbreakable series by reading more articles here on Gestalt IT.