World Environment Day: New Routes to Sustainability

Executive Vice President and General Manager, GreenLake Cloud Services Commercial Business at HPE

Sustainability awareness is on the rise on corporate and IT agendas. The signs are everywhere. Customers, investors, employees, and a broad range of other stakeholders are increasingly factoring sustainability into their decision-making. 

In March, the SEC proposed a new rule to include climate-related disclosures in their filings, a move that will surely result in more CIOs being drawn into boardroom discussions around sustainability.

Customer expectations are another big influence; IT organizations play an increasingly important role in environmental; governance and social (ESG) programs designed to meet those expectations and capture the share of budgets being committed to sustainable and ethical IT solutions. 

Sustainability makes good business sense, and it’s a natural partner for digital transformation programs. In fact, companies that link digital and sustainable transformation are 2.5 times more likely to be among tomorrow’s strongest-performing businesses than those that do not, according to data reported by the World Economic Forum.

What can individual IT organizations do to take a stand for sustainability in a way that advances key business goals?

Energy stars and zombie killers 

State-of-the-art equipment can greatly improve energy usage. But like any major infrastructure upgrade, moving toward an eco-friendly data center can represent a considerable investment. Business leaders and IT decision-makers may hesitate to move forward, given the upfront costs. The public cloud is an option, and may offer some sustainability benefits, but is typically not the right solution for businesses with stringent data governance policies, low latency requirements, or the entangled applications that are typical of traditional IT.

There’s an increasing demand for future-ready IT solution providers to help address the key causes of inefficiencies while executing an efficient hybrid multi-cloud delivery model. Customers who want to access many of the sustainability benefits commonly associated with the public cloud, such as decreased energy use and dematerialization of infrastructure are turning to providers who can offer an as-a-service consumption model.

As-a-service consumption models have therefore gained momentum over the last few years. Indeed, it’s a pay-per-use, self-service that’s not only easy to scale up or down based on customer requests, it also provides customers with the latest energy-efficient gear without procurement delays and high initial expenses. 

For instance, HPE GreenLake platform applies metering technologies that enable customers to match their workloads and capacity needs closely to their consumption. They can eliminate both wasteful overprovisioning and the risks of under-provisioning. They solve the problem of ‘zombie’ servers that consume resources without any significant business purpose or adequate visibility. Company modelling indicates that customers transitioning to HPE GreenLake from traditional capex models can achieve a more than 30 percent reduction in energy costs. In addition, because this is an as-a-service approach, HPE is able to manage the asset lifecycle for customers under our industry-leading circular economy programs. 

The colocation super-power

Another great way to amplify the sustainability benefits of as-a-service cloud services is to combine them with a colocation strategy. As blogger Angelo Tirri has pointed out, “major colocation providers invest in new, energy-efficient data centers with free-air cooling and ultra-efficient power utilization to constantly improve their power usage effectiveness.” Global data center provider Digital Realty, for instance, worked with HPE  to allow HPE GreenLake customers to run any HPE GreenLake service with colocation across Digital Realty’s 280-plus data centers on six continents. Customers benefit from world-class business and cloud adjacency, as well as a seamless experience with one agreement and invoice, together with integrated service management.

It’s time for a greener IT. A future-ready solution provider is critical for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to this increasingly important set of goals and mandates and meet the rising expectations of customers, employees, and investors.