It’s commonly known that the amount of data being generated and processed by businesses, governments, and organizations has grown exponentially in recent years. This growth has led to a corresponding increase in energy consumption by data centers, which now account for 1 percent of global electricity use.1
This energy consumption has leveled out over the past few years due to efficiency improvements in IT hardware and cooling and a shift toward more efficient cloud operations. But the rise of demanding workloads, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), has increased energy use by 10 to 30 percent per year.1 As such, there is an immediate need for energy efficiency in IT infrastructure that can deliver the needed level of performance.
Increasing IT sustainability makes sense not only from an environmental standpoint, but it is also an increasingly desirable business practice that is already influencing infrastructure purchases:
• IDC predicts that 75 percent of the largest global companies will soon require infrastructure vendors to prove progress on sustainability initiatives, as CIOs rely on vendors to help meet their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.2
• 81 percent of CEOs agree or strongly agree that digital investments are going to drive their ability to meet ESG goals.3
• IDC predicts that 60 percent of the largest global companies will soon have environmental sustainability parameters firmly embedded in their businesses’ key performance indicators (KPIs).4
Because IT sustainability is such a growing concern for businesses, Prowess Consulting is proposing a new approach to IT decision making. Instead of making separate decisions on hardware and software acquisitions to achieve sustainability goals, enterprises might instead view IT infrastructure systems holistically for their comprehensive benefits.
Much like how overall total cost of ownership (TCO) is a key metric for IT infrastructure purchases, the total impact on sustainability (TIS), with corollary capital and operating impacts (similar to capital expenditures [CapEx] and operating expenses [OpEx]), can be a strategic pathway for IT decisions. That is, an end-to-end hybrid-cloud infrastructure, built with sustainability in mind, can help enterprises achieve their business goals and meet environmental requirements simultaneously.
In this paper, we look at two top IT vendors who have built sustainability into their enterprise solutions: Dell Technologies and Microsoft. As partners, Dell Technologies and Microsoft collaborate so their products, such as Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers and Microsoft Azure® Stack HCI, are integrated for optimal benefits to end users. To explore the TIS approach, we examine the ways Dell Technologies and Microsoft have incorporated the following three sustainability principles:
• Reducing energy consumption through modernized IT infrastructure
• Lowering carbon emissions with consolidated data center space requirements, workload observation and analysis tools such as Dell™ Live Optics, increased hardware utilization, and cloud adoption
• Integrating best practices for materials, including incorporating recycled materials in production and packaging