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Survey: Most want green IT but many won’t get it soon

IT – and storage in particular – consume huge amounts of energy but sustainability targets are proving to be elusive, according to a survey commissioned by Pure Storage

Most organisations treat energy sustainability as a priority, but only about half of them are on track to achieve green IT goals. That’s according to Pure Storage, which surveyed around 1,000 customers in the UK, US and France for its IT Sustainability Impact Survey 2022.

It found that sustainability is a priority for 73% of those questioned, with going carbon neutral a goal for 32%. However, of the 55% that have set sustainability goals for the next three to seven years, the survey also found 51% did not think they would meet those goals.

“The cost of transporting data is high and so is the cost of keeping it in datacentres,” said Pure Storage chief technology officer (CTO) Alex McMullan, citing International Energy Agency figures that estimate 1% of global electricity is used in datacentres and 1% is used in moving data.

“There is also the much larger share of costs swallowed up by energy, with a current annual increase of 38.29%,” he added. “Half of that is storage.”

But, said McMullan, the attitude of a large number of respondents is to try to reduce energy consumption as much as they can but that they will never get to carbon neutral.

“Everybody is doing what they can, but there’s no expectation of carbon neutrality in the next decade,” he said.

McMullan argued that IT decision-makers need to build sustainability goals into hardware selection during the storage procurement process. He cited figures from the survey that show 63% overlook IT hardware sustainability figures when selecting a supplier.

That may be down to the fact that – according to 64% of respondents – sustainability targets are not addressed at the start of the purchasing process.

According to McMullan, those that want to achieve sustainability targets and reduce energy use need to build it into the procurement process and supplier selection.

Also, he pointed towards subscription and pay-as-you-go models as a good way of reducing dependence on the traditional refresh cycle, cutting spending on hardware that might otherwise end up in landfill and enabling more efficient use of storage capacity.

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