The carbon footprint of data storage: How to modernise for the future and make your business more sustainable

United Kingdom, Apr 29, 2024

While data backup, archiving and security is an essential process for every business, the carbon footprint of data storage can't be ignored. With data centres boasting even higher carbon emissions than the aviation industry, sustainable data storage needs to be taken seriously by any company concerned about environmental impact. The good news is, there are steps you can take to reduce your data storage carbon footprint.




How much energy does data storage use?

When you archive your files or back up a document to the cloud, the impact of your actions isn’t easy to see. But with data centres accounting for 2.5% of all human-induced carbon dioxide, the energy usage and carbon footprint of data storage is substantial. Various estimates indicate that every gigabyte of data stored in the cloud uses between 3 and 7 kWh of energy per gigabyte

So, making even small changes to the volume of data stored can make a big difference to energy expenditure. Responsible businesses keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials should assess ways to make data storage more efficient and sustainable. 


How can businesses address data storage and sustainability?

The first and most effective step to reduce the carbon footprint of data storage, is to cut down on how much data you are storing in the first place. Many companies have archives dating back years, with multiple backups of large files taking up space that’s not even needed.

Cutting down on the amount of data you are storing means getting your house in order. Conduct a data audit to ascertain your current situation, deciding what data you really need to be storing and what can be discarded. 

Once you have streamlined your data storage by getting rid of unwanted files, there’s still more that can be done to slim down your data storage carbon footprint. Sustainable and efficient storage solutions, such as hybrid flash storage, compress your data so that more can be fitted into the same space. 


How to choose an environmentally responsible flash storage provider

Having audited your own data, it’s important that your data storage provider is also committed to reducing the carbon footprint of data storage. Look for manufacturers who publish detailed sustainability reports outlining their environmental goals, initiatives and progress. Any awards or accreditations they have for sustainability are always a good sign. For example, data infrastructure company NetApp is rated in the top 5% of companies assessed by EcoVadis, a leading evidence-based ESG rating agency. 


How to choose an environmentally responsible data centre

Data centres are not all equal. If you are looking externally for a green data centre rather than storing your data in-house, it’s important to check their sustainability credentials to see how they are cutting down on the carbon footprint of data storage. For example, data centres accredited by the Certified Energy Efficient Datacenter Award (CEEDA®) have been evaluated and shown to demonstrate energy efficiency best practices. 

One way you can check their commitment to sustainability is through data centre ESG reports. Look for data centres that have their ESG reporting verified by independent third-party auditors. 


Modernise your data storage for a sustainable future

The goal of sustainable data storage isn't to achieve a completely cost-free impact, but to minimise it as much as possible - and to strive for continuous improvement. By working to cut down on the carbon footprint of data storage, your business can modernise for a sustainable future.

At Logicalis, we understand the need for data storage sustainability, and the importance of agility and performance for your critical applications. We offer data and infrastructure assessments that will identify areas for improvement in your current data storage arrangements, helping you to reduce your carbon footprint and work more efficiently. 




For more information, download our eBook: Modernise for tomorrow with a sustainable data storage upgrade, or contact us to arrange a data assessment.

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