One of the best environmental maxims I’ve heard lately is: there’s no solitude in sustainability. This was the subject of a recent blog of the same title that exposed a reality we hear in closed-door sessions: sustainability is not a core competency of most businesses. Most need help, they need expertise, ideas; they’re looking for collaboration and direction.
Customers have been telling me this directly for the past year. They want to know the best, most practical ways to begin doing things like lowering their carbon emissions, improving their energy efficiency, and embracing the circular economy. They also want to know things like how to measure the potential return on investment. But without a doubt, the question I get asked the most is, where do we begin?
After hundreds of client engagements, we’ve identified the data center as the area with the greatest potential and the most immediate opportunities for carbon reduction. Consider there are about 7.2 million data centers around the world, many of which still run older servers and network communications equipment. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates, they consume as much as 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building, accounting for about 2% of total U.S. electricity use.
Whether an enterprise is building out or retrofitting their data center, there are a number of steps that can and should be taken, investments that can be made that can begin showing environmental returns quickly. Eco-friendly infrastructure that consumes less energy, leveraging hybrid cloud in strategic ways, employing more efficient facilities management, and much more, can put enterprises on the path to a more sustainable future.
Our Trusted Partner Ecosystem
That’s where Hitachi Vantara and our trusted partner ecosystem come in. Our distribution and channel partners have grown green with us and have aided our joint customers in assessing and addressing their sustainability targets and opportunities with increasing success for the past several years. To that end, we continue to advance our joint solutions and practices and update our partner tools and services with the very latest sustainability innovations. We’re arming our collaborators to help businesses uncover opportunities, set targets, and start executing faster, with greater consistency.
Our innovative partners not only share our commitment to sustainability but are developing solutions in their own rights to help customers start moving in the right direction. For example, partners like Atos, Cisco, VMware, and Equinix, just to name a few, have developed some incredible innovations around the eco-friendly data center. Here’s a glimpse:
Atos – Atos is a leading global digital solutions and services company that supports a wide range of industries with an array of services and solutions, from analytics to AI, as well as decarbonization. From its in-depth assessments to its MyCO2Compass tool, which digitizes carbon data and links current data to forecasting for better predictability and decision making, enterprises leverage Atos to help them meet sustainability goals. For Atos, measuring is key. “You can set all sorts of targets but unless you start to measure you won’t know where you’re coming from, where you are going, and you certainly won’t know if you’ve achieved your targets,” said Marc Mosthav, Head of Net Zero Transformation, Digital Platforms, at Atos in a Hitachi Vantara Insights story from COP27.
Cisco – Our joint efforts with Cisco to support the ever-changing enterprise are legendary. That’s why it was a surprise to no one when we embraced sustainability together. And when it comes to decarbing the data center, Cisco has been in lock step with us. In fact, two weeks ago, for its Cisco Live! Amsterdam event, Denise Lee, Vice President, Engineering Sustainability Office, at Cisco, teamed with Hitachi Vantara’s Tom Christensen, to highlight our joint work in corporate blog. In it, they point to the critical need for visibility and insights — issues that can only be gained through data — to address decarbonization. The pair point specifically to the value of combining Hitachi Vantara’s Ops Center Clear Sight that tracks energy consumption across the fleet of storage products with Cisco’s Unified Platform Experience, “which can help IT turn the network into an Energy Management control plane to optimize energy consumption, lower costs, and reduce your carbon footprint.”
VMware – When it comes to virtualization, VMware leads the way on compute, while we lead the way on storage virtualization. Hitachi Vantara-VMware is the only vendor alliance that can manage both converged and hyperconverged stacks across one software-defined plane, which enables customers to run any app in any location, via any cloud, to any user, on any device. Through virtualization the asset utilization is recognized to its fullest which aligns directly to the principles of carbon reduction across the data center.
Equinix – When it comes to data centers, few have the expertise of Equinix, which has been building and connecting companies to the cloud and each other since 1998. We’ve been working with the company for years, which is why creating the Hitachi Cloud Connect for Equinix, was a no-brainer. This unique offering allows customers to locate our eco-friendly Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) enterprise-class storage quickly and easily at Equinix data centers worldwide. Hitachi Cloud Connect for Equinix, enables companies to deploy VSP systems in the cloud with the same management, monitoring, and predictive analytic capabilities customers enjoy on-prem, to properly control your entire storage environment, regardless of location. And like Hitachi Vantara, which has a goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, Equinix is the first data center provider to set a 100% renewable energy goal with science-based targets by 20303.
To be sure, the transition to the sustainable business will be historic for all involved, enterprises, partners and tech providers. And while every company may not have the expertise to embark on their sustainable future, there are people who do. As I mentioned in the beginning, our September blog hit the nail on the head with the idea that no one can go it alone in this green, new world.
In fact, that same blog points out a recent report from the Everest Group, the company’s inaugural Sustainability Enablement Technology Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022. In it, the firm ranks Hitachi Vantara a “Major Contender” for Sustainability Enablement Technology Services. That’s great recognition, but those close to enterprises and sustainability know that this is a journey. But when done right, sustainability is contagious. Once enterprises can show positive data center results in things like energy savings, cost savings, and performance improvements, we’ve seen other parts of the business adopt the measures with gusto.
We believe the first steps an enterprise can take in their sustainability journey are in the data center — and we have the support to help them get it done. Increasingly, sustainability is a balancing act of performance and planet that can lead to greater strength and agility, for both.
Kimberly King is Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners & Alliances, Hitachi Vantara.
- Bringing Balance to the Data Center – Russell Skingsley
- Hitachi Vantara: Sustainability
- Press Release: Gijima Powers Sustainable Data Infrastructure with Hitachi Vantara Virtual Storage Platforms
- What to Know About Your Data Center’s Carbon Footprint | Hitachi Vantara
- DataOps & the Sustainable Data Center | Hitachi Vantara Blog
- Data Center Decarbonization Takes Center Stage In Egypt | Hitachi Vantara
- Injecting Some Reality into Plastics Pollution | Hitachi Vantara