How Flash Storage Supports Federal Sustainability

Government agencies face increasing pressure to make “sustainable” choices: to be more thoughtful about their energy use and impact on the environment. Federal goals include net-zero emissions from overall operations by 2050.

Although often overlooked, data storage represents a significant source of potential savings. In particular, it can help support agencies’ sustainability ambitions.

Compared to conventional magnetic disks, Flash storage has no vibration and therefore generates no mechanical heat. “It’s far more efficient in terms of both its power consumption and its cooling needs,” said Seth Kindley , Principal Data Architect for U.S. Public Sector at Pure Storage.

In fact, Pure Storage research has shown that an all-Flash system can reduce by as much as 80% the carbon usage associated with data storage systems.

The Growing Imperative

There’s a rising imperative around energy savings and sustainability, in society at large and within the federal government. Agencies increasingly are factoring in these concerns as they make long-term IT decisions.

“People in government are certainly aware of it. They see the writing on the wall, where sustainability is something that is going to become table stakes going forward,” Kindley said. Some agencies already are instituting specific maximum-use rules around energy consumption, “and we suspect others are going to follow suit.”

To meet that rising expectation, agencies need to look at the energy that goes to support their massive and ever-expanding data storage needs.

“A typical government data center can use 100 to 200 times as much energy as a commercial building,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office reports, and the IT professional organization IEEE adds that the use of more-efficient storage devices is critical to reduce power consumption.

How Flash Benefits Agencies

With a smaller physical footprint and no moving parts, Flash is inherently less resource-intensive than disk storage, drawing less energy and creatingless e-waste.

“This helps the agency to be a better steward of mission dollars, because you can do more with less, while getting faster results,” Kindley said. “Flash is also inherently faster than a spinning disk, so you’re able to deliver more work product, which benefits both the agency and its constituents.”

With the low latency of an all-Flash solution, a high- performance compute project that used to run for a month can be completed in half the time. “By shifting the underlying infrastructure, you’ve doubled the work product, while consuming significantly less energy,” Kindley said.

At the same time, the inherent flexibility of a Flash solution supports overall goals around digital transformation, breaking down silos and empowering next-gen workflows.

Overall, Flash is the next logical step for agencies looking to drive mission outcomes and simultaneously scale back their environmental impacts.

“It allows you to draw less power, less cooling as you scale down your data center,” Kindley said. “With Flash, you can get rid of thousands of spinning disks and hundreds of servers. By taking out those racks, by changing that form factor, everything becomes more efficient.”

This article appears in our Guide, “Unpacking Digital Transformation.” To read more about how agencies are getting the most out of their modernization and transformation efforts, download the guide.


Photo by Manuel Geissinger at pexels.com

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