The Sustainable Data Center: Getting More Done, and Leaving Less Behind

In today’s economy, efficiency is key to success. In every corner of business, companies are looking to do more with less. This trend has led to the introduction of numerous optimisations, such as productivity tools and facility space reductions. It also extends to IT infrastructure – which plays a vital role in modern enterprises.

What’s more, access to timely and reliable data is essential for making informed business decisions. These increasing demands for data processing and storage pose significant challenges for IT leaders. Complicating this picture further is that environmental concerns have increasingly come to the forefront for enterprises – partially driven by changing consumer expectations. These days, IT departments must not only find solutions that meet their operational needs, but they must do so while monitoring and containing their carbon emissions. Talk about a careful balancing act!

So, doing more – while lessening the impact on the environment – is now imperative! Read on to learn how to make smart decisions about the information technology you deploy for your business.

The demand for sustainability in business is real

You don’t have to look far to see how deeply customers care about business sustainability. A 2020 study from McKinsey found that 60 percent of respondents said they would pay more for sustainable packaging, while NielsenIQ found that 78 percent of US consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them.i

Even more striking is how there is a clear, causal link between products that make a claim of sustainability and those that don’t. In a different study, McKinsey found that, over the past five years, products making environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related claims averaged 28 percent cumulative growth over the five-year period versus 20 percent for products that made no such claims. ii

Because of growing customer demands and the visibility of the biggest carbon contributors, companies are now making concerted efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. In light of these challenges, it’s increasingly urgent for businesses to find innovative solutions that can meet both their information processing needs and their environmental goals. Striking a balance requires not only thoughtful design, but also constant innovation and improvement in the ways we process and manage information.

Practicing sustainable IT can feel like an impossible task

One of the biggest challenges in achieving IT sustainability is that tech stack emissions are often directly tied to a business’s overall success. As a company grows, it often requires greater compute power and more processing and data storage capabilities – all of which consume resources. Even companies that prioritise sustainability can find themselves with a sprawling IT system whose electricity requirements are hardly carbon friendly.

For leaders, this can feel like an impossible situation. CIOs may assume that putting sustainability front and centre will force them to deploy energy-efficient solutions that are simply not up to the demands of a growing enterprise. Yet given society’s focus on climate, they also know that taking no action is simply not an option. To deal effectively with this catch-22, leaders need to make strategic decisions about their tech spend and how they select an IT vendor.

Work with vendors complimentary to your climate goals

What does this look like in practice? Well, let’s say you are looking to implement a new system and you have narrowed down your potential vendors to Vendor A and Vendor B. Each vendor offers their own marginal advantages, but for your deployment specifications, they both could technically “work.”

It is here that companies can make choices that align with both their technology needs and climate goals. For instance, if Vendor B’s solution involves the most energy-efficient compute server on the market and a storage platform has continued to improve its power utilisation for the past decade, they become the obvious choice over Vendor A.

Good for the world and good for business

Keep in mind that selecting a greener IT vendor is not just about altruism or meeting customer expectations in the abstract. Energy-efficient technology often enables companies to leverage additional innovation opportunities further down the road, positioning them to gain a tangible, long-term business advantage.

To better visualise what we mean, let’s return once more to our two above-mentioned vendors. With Vendor B bringing a more energy-efficient compute server and storage platform to the table, chances are that new, more powerful data centres will run on its infrastructure over Vendor A. Up-and-coming applications will also run on the most innovative IT architecture, attracted, and rightly so, buy a platform that can handle the widest range of workloads.

Solutions that do more with less also have a strong correlation with immediate bottom-line growth. 33 percent of organisations, for instance, enjoyed decreased costs through improved efficiencies, while 32 percent experienced greater innovation and new business models. Even better? 24 percent saw their revenues grow.iii

Final word: Now is the time to embrace sustainable IT

Although moving toward a more sustainable IT stack can, at times, seem incompatible with the needs of the growing enterprise, partnering with the right IT vendors can help you achieve both goals. Better yet, in doing so, you will help your organisation make sizable gains in lowering associated energy costs, while raising its operational efficacy and organisational reputation.

Start achieving your long-term sustainability and business goals by reaching out today to Hitachi and Cisco!

i McKinsey, “Customers care about sustainability – and back it up with their wallets,” 6 Feb 2023,
ii Ibid
iii Richard Carufel, Agility PR, “New study shows how sustainability improves the bottom line for 44 percent of organizations,” 2 March 2022,

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