More data was produced in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt in 2020 after businesses shifted to a remote work system due to the pandemic, a new survey commissioned by Kingston Technology showed. Based on the results of the survey conducted by ResearchOne Marketing Consultancy, 75 % of the respondents, who comprised IT specialists, affirmed that their organizations had shifted to a work-from-home (WFH) set-up last year to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Around 67 % of the interviewees agreed that, as a result of the WFH adoption, the data growth rate witnessed by their companies was faster in 2020 compared to the previous years. They credited the uptick to the increase in email storage during lockdowns. The data spikes resulted in the need for more efficient and sustainable online storage systems and data center facilities. To increase efficiency and, in the long run, reduce the ecological footprint, bringing down the energy costs has become one of the priorities of many businesses today – thus leading them to speed up their cloud migration efforts.
About 50 % of companies in Saudi Arabia had begun migrating some of their processes to the cloud during the period, while 25 % in both the UAE and Egypt had taken a similar route. The majority of those surveyed believed that migrating to the cloud services would reflect favorably on the cooling and storage costs that come with managing and running their data centers.
Data centers are known for their high-power consumption. Studies have found that these facilities will be responsible for one-fifth of the world’s energy demands by 2025, dwarfing the power consumption of many individual countries. This has raised the alarm bells for countries and institutions pushing for a more sustainable future. Over the years, especially during the pandemic, businesses have begun to think more about improving their efficiency in terms of their overall IT infrastructure, which includes data centers.
But for some experts, cloud migration is not the solution if the aim is to reduce the energy consumption of data centers. It is only shifting the problem since moving to the cloud essentially boils down to big servers that require yet again more data centers. To achieve a genuine energy reduction within the IT system, making data centers eco-friendly and efficient should be prioritized as well.
On this, as per the survey, some of the respondents supported the rollout of advanced technologies such as smart sensors to monitor the temperature of data centers and complement a more efficient cooling system. To decrease power expenditures, they also proposed the use of renewable energy and co-hosting of servers with other local companies to reduce the sheer amount of data centers and the cost to manage them. Sharing of servers, which translates to less energy consumption, can especially benefit smaller companies.
A few of the interviewees pointed as well to the importance of upgrading to high-performing flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) from hard-disk drives (HDDs) to optimize technology infrastructure and reduce energy consumption. Thousands and thousands of HDDs currently run in many data centers, often in continuous operation, leading to high energy usage.
Proponents of HDD, which has been in circulation for decades, often make the argument that this technology is superior to its SSD counterpart in terms of data capacity and, thus, also the price-performance ratio. But this advantage has been reduced by the SSD for some time now. Upgrading to SSD from HDD – as well as to non-volatile memory express (NVMe) from serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) – can have a huge impact on power reduction when extended to the entire data center.
Moreover, compared to HDDs, which are more susceptible to wear and tear, SSDs have ten times the transfer speed and can seamlessly switch to an energy storage mode after completion of the read or write process. If an NVMe PCIe SSD is used, the rapid transfer speed can further reduce the duration of full operation and, consequently, save power.