Data hungry, energy starved

HPE I 10:12 am, 7th August

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) ask how we reconcile the ever-growing desire for data storage with a need to cut energy consumption and carbon emissions? 

Every piece of data generated and saved, from a simple email to complex virtual reality platforms has to be stored somewhere. Building, maintaining and running data centers to host our demands for instantly available information comes at a massive energy cost – with data centers accounting for 25-30% of the digital sector’s global energy consumption.  

The European Commission is instructing data center operators to aim for carbon neutrality by 2030 – even as demand is expected to grow by a third in the same timeframe. So, this poses the question – in a data hungry society – how do we feed our need without overeating? 

Use what we have – efficiently 

Maximizing efficiency of existing equipment should be a no-brainer.  Consider that up to 33% of data center investments are tied up in unused servers – creating not only a drain on energy, but also financial resources. HPE recommend that we:  

    - Do more with what we have by maximizing equipment efficiency, eliminating zombie equipment and increasing the use of the space available. 

    - Using the right equipment for the right job will lead to energy efficiency, reducing the energy consumption required to accomplish compute tasks. 

    - Do more with less, AKA resource efficiency.  

    - Use the right software, informed by AI and machine learning to drive efficiencies, reduce downtime, and improve management practices. 

Efficiency by design: building a hybrid ‘data storage as a service’ model  

The design of data storage architecture should start with the question - what needs to be in the cloud and what needs to remain close to the user? 

By adopting an ‘as a service model’ for data storage solutions, users can take advantage of hybrid multi-cloud environments, shared space in ‘colocation data centers’, and edge locations that bring the data closer to the end user.  

HPE Green Lake is the industry’s first edge-to-cloud single platform designed to provide organizations with a more sustainable, data-first, digital transformation, further enhanced through application, analytics, and developer services modernizing workloads across the hybrid cloud, as demonstrated at the HPE Discover Frankfurt-event. On average, HPE GreenLake customers report: 

    - 75% shortened time to market

    - 30% reduction in energy costs and total costs of ownership

    - 40% reduction in support costs

Reuse and refurbish to reduce energy consumption 

If infrastructure and equipment used can have a second or third life – the energy footprint of that equipment is reduced. So a server that no longer meets the needs of its owner's intensive applications, may well find a second life in another company with less intensive IT needs, or in environments not dedicated to critical production. 

Disruptive thinking to save the world 

Innovative, disruptive ideas will be critical in the journey to net zero for the data storage sector. Instead of expending energy and money on cooling and powering data centers, how about building offshore data centers, located on small floating barges powered by drifting turbines, and cooled by the surrounding ocean. 

Or thinking beyond our own atmosphere to consider high-orbit data centers, powered by solar panels and temperature controlled by the vacuum of space. Science fiction no more, the feasibility study for data centers in orbit - ASCEND (Advanced Space Cloud for European Net zero emission and Data sovereignty), is part of Europe’s vast Horizon Europe research program.  

Learn more about HPE Greenlake via 

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