Tech Talk

Green Storage - Sustainable data in the cloud

Last updated 5 August 2022

Sustainability is the hottest topic right now, and rightly so. Sustainability protects our ecosystems, preserves natural resources for our future generations, and improves out present day current lives. The next two decades are likely to see the global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius - so it's on us now to act, and by doing so, save and create cleaner energy. 

Couple all of this with the explosion in data - which is set to reach 463 exabytes generated globally daily by 2025 - it's on infrastructure providers and data centres to make their energy ‘greener’, as much as it is on us as human beings to save our energy at home/office. With this, let's take a look at what some of the major cloud service providers are doing around sustainability.

Who has the greenest cloud? Amazon, Google or Microsoft?


Starting with Google, they claim they're the biggest corporate buyers of renewable energy in the world. If you're a Google cloud customer, they claim that your carbon footprint is already carbon neutral, with Google first achieving neutrality in 2007. What's more, they have been purchasing solar and wind energy to match 100% of its global consumption since 2017.

Google also offers a tool around usage for its user to help the fight in sustainability, helping customers pick the greenest region for their resources. Another tool they have in their green arsenal is the Unattended Project Recommender. This tool users machine learning to identify code running on a Google server that might be unused or left behind, things which can account for extra carbon emissions that could be eliminated if customers knew that they existed. It is said that Google estimates the kilograms of Co2 equivalent to have reached 600,000 per month. 



Much like Google, it's about education and awareness with customers. Microsoft have an Emissions Impact Dashboard which monitors emissions. The Azure platform focusses heavily on the customer, with rules to control cloud processes to help customers on their journey to green.

As a cloud provider, they claim to be using 100% renewable energy by 2025, with innovations such as liquid immersion cooling, grid-interactive UPS batteries and clean fuels for power backup as part of their data centre strategy.



AWS feel somewhat behind. Amazon have a target of reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2040, which feels some way off, with the goal of tracking all power of its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Again, like other cloud providers, the efforts largely come in the form of educating and making customers aware. AWS have the Customer Carbon Footprint Tool - launched in March 2022 - offering a dashboard on carbon emissions. 


What are private cloud infrastructure providers doing?

ICT's share of global GHG emissions sits at 1.8% - 2.8%, which may not look like much - but it is unlikely that figure will ever decrease - so slowing the growth is something CSPs (cloud service providers) can do. Below is some actions the industry is seeing data centres take:

ConsolidationWhen it comes to reducing the amount of wasted energy, consolidating servers is a sure way. 
Reusing and recyclingRepurposing equipment eliminates unwanted emissions. Convert old servers to better ones, upgrade rather than by new; avoid where possible.
Shutting off serversIf they're not in use, why run them? It is common for CSPs and data centres to find electricity consumption being gobbled up by servers not computing.
CPU performanceResearch which CPU is the greenest for your workload environments. Running a power consuming CPU might not be necessary for all.
SSD over HDDSSDs not only perform better than traditional hard disks, but they're way more sustainable in the way that they use energy making them ideal for your green strategy. Read more below.


The power of green storage

As mentioned above, SSDs are better for energy than HDD. For data centres and CSPs that make this switch, it is said that they will use 70% less power and 50% less space.

Huawei has a strategy to help data centres ‘go green’ through the power of data storage, aiming to reduce energy consumption per TB of data through a mix of high-density design, convergence, reduction of data and full-lifecycle carbon footprint management.

With this, its use of half-palm NVMe SSDs helps its storage systems to support 36 SSDs in 2U disk enclosures, which they say delivers higher hardware density than the usual way of doing things and 25% higher heat dissipation than traditional hard disk.

SSD's green credentials:-

  • Reliability - SSD's simply don't need replacing as often, meaning less resource is used. Especially server SSD when in the cloud environment.
  • SSD's use far less power than HDD
  • Reduced heat means SSD's are cooler as per the above, producing less heat through thermal conversion of electricity.


How can Simms help on your green journey?

We are a specialist distributor of SSD & RAM for cloud service providers and data centres. What we do that's beneficial, is we work directly with the manufacturers - the actual semi-conductors - who spend billions on research and testing to create the best products for market, which includes new, sustainable product for market.

In working directly with the likes of Micron, Solidigm, and Kingston, we are able to advise on the most sustainable SSD & RAM to make a difference to your infrastructure. Our team of experts and the experts at the semi-conductors are a phone call away from helping guide your set up with the best SSD & RAM in class.




Drew is Marketing Lead at Simms, leading our marketing department. Drew has a strong knowledge datacentre and server proposition, and leads on our industrial and embedded side of the business also.