A More Modular Approach Has Become the Norm in Recent Years

Omar Akar, the Regional Vice President for Middle East and Emerging Africa at Pure Storage, speaks about the role technology plays in the journey toward achieving sustainability

What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice? Examples: minimal/recyclable packaging, use of recycled material for devices, and so on?
Responding to the climate crisis is everyone’s responsibility and for those of us in the tech sector, it’s imperative that we do what we can to mitigate the environmental impact of data infrastructure.

As sustainability and energy savings become increasingly critical to organizations around the globe, Pure is continuing to invest in helping customers achieve their environmental and energy reduction goals. Our all-flash technology and unique Evergreen portfolio of subscriptions allow customers to lower their power and cooling consumption, reduce their overall data centre footprint and reduce e-waste.

Since reporting our first sustainability results in March 2022, Pure Storage has now completed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) across our full portfolio of arrays. We can deliver between 75% to 84.7% reduction in direct energy savings vs. competitive solutions for the FlashArray// portfolio and between 60%-67% reduction for FlashBlade//S.

From an operational perspective, we are reducing our impact on the environment through several initiatives, including product recycling; reduction of carbon footprint through responsible transportation; and choosing responsible suppliers. Pure strives to reduce the energy and water used to operate our products and we are committed to building a better planet through environmental sustainability and efficiency. We comply with relevant waste regulations around the world.

Earlier this year we published our goals for reducing Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. We have committed to 50% intensity reduction in market-based Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per employee from FY20 to FY30, and to achieving net zero market-based Scope 1 and 2 emissions by FY40. As part of our goal to reduce Scope 3 emissions, Pure is committing to further reducing our sold products’ emissions by 66% per petabyte.

Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
Absolutely! And I think we are seeing that organizations are beginning to look at green technologies too. Five years ago, for many, green technologies were not a consideration — when we used to speak to customers, the discussion was around features and price and the misconception was that green technology was just too expensive.

But that is quickly changing as customers begin to realize that investing in the right green solutions delivers a dual benefit — they get the infrastructure that is best suited for their environments and can be future-proofed from a frequent technology refresh cycle.

Take storage as an example, which is a critical part of data center infrastructures. Most legacy systems have a lifetime of about five years and after this, organizations need to purchase extended maintenance or replace the system completely. This not only comes at a high financial cost but also involves sending equipment to landfill.

In addition, it requires a complex data migration process which can take several months to complete and involves infrastructure running in parallel, adding to power and cooling costs. However, Pure’s unique EvergreenTM architecture and subscription offerings extend the service lifetimes of equipment and reduce the underutilization of storage. As a result of these programs, 97% of Pure arrays purchased six years ago are still in service.

How can companies reduce their carbon footprint?
Enterprises considering their own environmental impact and how they can improve the lifecycle of technology investments should focus on two key areas:

  • Engineer for a smaller footprint. Corporate data centers are often still optimized for reliability, performance, or cost, and less for efficiency. Old magnetic disk technologies delivered capacity yet sacrificed inefficient power usage and e-waste. Solid-state media can enable organizations to design and operate less resource-intensive data centers and can help shrink footprints dramatically. At Pure, we believe that our tightly integrated software and hardware allow us to deliver market-leading density, longevity, and efficiency, and help to improve and drive further efficiencies over time. Our Evergreen architecture and philosophy of continuously and non-disruptively upgrading both the hardware and software components of customers’ systems spares our customers from unnecessary and costly product replacements and the associated energy and e-waste.
  • Develop an as-a-service approach. True “as-a-Service” solutions are about buying an outcome (i.e. Service Level Agreement) and having a third party deliver it. You should be able to start small, grow over time, and have transparency over pricing and related KPIs, including sustainability. In storage, that requires an architecture that enables technology improvements without costly and disruptive rip-and-replace projects, is capable of flexing up and down as you need, and only deploying equipment as it is required. For example, with our Evergreen//One subscription, we are able to remove the energy and waste typically associated with underutilized or over-provisioned systems.

Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practises?
In the Arab Gulf, national economic visions aimed at alleviating petrochemical dependence have put renewable energy sources front and center. For example, the world’s largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) facility can be found in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project describes itself as “grounded” in sustainability and the kingdom’s Qiddiya development will focus on Saudi Arabia Vision 2030’s “key tenet” of sustainability.

Qatar’s Lusail smart city is another example, following sustainability requirements laid down in Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Such government initiatives can make a big impact in helping organizations, particularly those in the early stages of transition, overcome the challenges of making the shift toward sustainability.

What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
From the software architect to the CIO, digitization must be understood and analyzed within the context of sustainability. Systems and strategies must reflect national carbon-reduction goals. In terms of design: a more modular approach has become the norm in recent years, allowing specific components to be replaced as needed, instead of entire systems: and embedding sustainable design into hardware and software.

An additional benefit is that there is less hardware turnover and therefore less e-waste sent to landfill. Opting for as-a-service offerings is another avenue for organizations to get the most out of their investment and cut waste dramatically. This leads to lower levels of energy consumption and far less waste, as companies no longer need to run under-used or oversized systems. Effective, efficient, and sustainable.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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