Managing Your Data Center’s Footprint

Improve your data center’s footprint without compromising performance. Learn sustainable practices and space-saving solutions for efficient management.

Table of Contents:

Managing your data center’s footprint is more than just a sustainability initiative; it is a deliberate move toward environmental responsibility and financial success. The management of your data center is emerging as a critical decision with far-reaching consequences for your organization.

According to recent studies from TechTarget, data centers and data transmission networks collectively contribute nearly 1% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This substantial environmental impact emphasizes the urgency for businesses to address their data center footprints as part of a broader commitment to combat climate change.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centers contributed around 330 million tons of carbon dioxide (Mt CO2) equivalent in 2020, underscoring their crucial role in world emissions. This amount, which represents 0.9% of greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy use, highlights the urgent need for a paradigm change toward sustainable data center operations.

The relevance of optimizing data center efficiency becomes clear as businesses navigate the constantly changing landscape of digital infrastructure. This is demonstrated by the facts and insights that highlight the benefits of financial gains and environmental responsibility. This article explores the factors influencing the carbon footprint of data centers, the impact on business revenue, and practical tips to enhance efficiency.

What Is a Data Center Footprint and Why Is It Important?

A data center footprint includes the physical space taken up by IT hardware and the broader environmental implications and sustainability aspects of the data center’s infrastructure. The footprint or impact concept is crucial for fostering environmentally sustainable and efficient data center operations. 

Initiatives like the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact in Europe exemplify the industry’s commitment to reducing environmental ramifications. This pact, supported by industry giants and the European Commission, sets ambitious targets for data centers to become climate neutral by 2030. It emphasizes practices such as 100% carbon-free energy, efficient water usage, server reuse and repair, and heat recycling. While similar initiatives are not yet prevalent in Asia, the global commitments of major U.S. tech firms involved in the European pact suggest a potential influence on sustainability practices in data centers worldwide. 

Understanding and managing the data center footprint is therefore a critical step to achieving broader goals such as the European Green Deal and global efforts to mitigate climate change.

Factors Influencing the Carbon Footprint of Data Centers

The quest for sustainable and efficient data centers necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the factors intricately woven into the data center carbon footprint. The following section unravels the complexities associated with the environmental impact of data centers, examining critical elements such as physical dimensions, server efficiency, data center types, resource consumption, and equipment lifetime. 

Each facet plays a pivotal role in shaping the carbon footprint of data storage, guiding businesses toward informed decisions that optimize operational efficiency and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. Explore these factors to develop a data center footprint that aligns with both environmental responsibility and operational excellence.

Physical Dimensions

The physical space a data center occupies is more than a logistical consideration; it significantly influences its carbon footprint. Efficient space utilization and meticulous layout planning are critical elements that directly contribute to a reduced environmental impact from data center carbon emissions. By maximizing available space and existing data center buildings—while arranging IT equipment in the most effective way—businesses can achieve a more sustainable data center footprint. According to Our World in Data, a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality, the construction industry is responsible for 39% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions globally.

Server Efficiency

The efficiency of servers determines the overall carbon emissions of a data center as they require a tremendous amount of energy. Investing in energy-efficient servers and embracing regular technology upgrades can yield substantial energy savings. When considering technological upgrades to become more efficient, it’s equally important to have a refurbishing and recycling strategy in place. The reuse of server components (like hard drives) saves 275 times more CO2 emissions than recycling. 

Learn about Seagate’s Circularity Program

The ongoing evolution of server technology offers opportunities for businesses to align their operations with the latest energy-efficient solutions, thereby reducing their data center carbon emissions while enhancing overall performance.

Resources Consumption

From electricity to water, the consumption of resources directly influences a data center’s environmental footprint. Implementing measures to optimize resource usage, such as energy-efficient cooling systems and water recycling initiatives, contributes to the creation of sustainable data center operations. By adopting a holistic approach to resource management, businesses can reduce their environmental impact and achieve operational efficiency with less fossil fuels.

Equipment Lifetime

The lifespan of equipment in a data center is crucial for financial efficiency and environmental sustainability. Proper maintenance, timely upgrades, and responsible disposal practices are key to enhancing the sustainability of a data center’s lifecycle. Prolonging the lifespan of equipment, such as hard drives, maximizes return on investment and reduces the environmental impact linked to electronic waste disposal.

Breakthrough technologies developed by companies like Seagate play a pivotal role. For instance, Seagate Advanced Data Recovery (ADR) and Seagate Secure technologies at the disk drive level, along with the ADAPT+ADR system at a broader level, significantly contribute to this goal. These technologies reduce the need for frequent maintenance, ensuring that products have a longer operational lifespan in the field. 

They also support a more sustainable datasphere and circular economy by eliminating the necessity for hard drive shredding at the end of their first life cycle or during service replacements. By incorporating these advanced technologies, data centers can move toward more environmentally responsible practices, aligning with global initiatives aimed at reducing the data center footprint.

Learn about Seagate’s CORVAULT

Increasing Business Revenue Through Green Data Centers 

The mutually beneficial relationship between financial success and environmental responsibility is paramount in data center management. Your business can elevate revenue streams by embracing green data center practices to lower your cloud carbon footprint and data center emissions.  

From operational cost reductions to the enhancement of corporate reputation, we delve into the many benefits that arise when sustainability is a core component of data center strategy. Let’s explore how financial prosperity can align harmoniously with eco-conscious practices. This holistic approach optimizes operational efficiency while positioning businesses as leaders in sustainable technology. 

Operational Costs 

In data center management, the financial landscape is significantly impacted by the environmental practices employed. Reducing the environmental impact of your data center usage translates directly into decreased operational costs.  

Embracing energy-efficient practices not only aligns with data center sustainability goals but also results in lower utility bills, contributing to substantial financial savings for businesses. As the cost of energy continues to be a significant operational expenditure, implementing green data center strategies becomes an integral component of financial optimization. 

One notable solution for this scenario is Seagate Mozaic 3+. This innovative hard drive platform is designed to optimize power consumption and deliver substantial TCO reductions for data centers. Seagate’s Mozaic 3+ achieves this through its efficient use of resources and cutting-edge technology, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to lower their operational costs. 


The commitment to data center sustainability is not just a corporate responsibility; it’s a strategic move that enhances a company’s reputation. In an era where consumers and stakeholders increasingly value environmentally conscious practices, a green data center becomes a powerful symbol of corporate responsibility in handling the world’s data.  

Businesses that prioritize data center sustainability positively influence brand perception and attract eco-conscious clients and customers. Beyond financial gains, a sterling reputation as an environmentally responsible organization is a major asset in the current competitive business landscape. 

Space Requirements 

Green data center practices often go hand in hand with virtualization and consolidation strategies. By maximizing the efficiency of existing hardware and optimizing resource allocation, businesses can reduce their physical space requirements.  

Implementing green data center practices contributes to smaller data center carbon footprints and leads to significant cost savings related to facility construction and maintenance. The ability to achieve more with less physical space—by adopting environmentally conscious strategies—offers financial and operational advantages. 

One key factor contributing to these benefits is the remarkable areal density offered by solutions like Seagate Mozaic 3+. The advanced technology of Mosaic 3+ allows for higher data storage capacity within the same physical space, optimizing resource utilization and reducing the environmental impact of data centers. 

Furthermore, by doubling the storage capacity when choosing Mozaic 3+, the embodied carbon emissions are reduced by an impressive 55%. This reduction is a testament to the environmental sustainability and cost-efficiency that can be achieved by embracing innovative storage solutions like Mozaic 3+. 

Cost of Utility Bills 

The use of energy-efficient technologies and practices has a direct and positive impact on utility bills, presenting significant long-term savings for businesses. Energy-efficient cooling systems and power management solutions are examples of green technologies that can significantly reduce recurring electricity expenditures. Together with the favorable environmental effect, this financial gain puts firms in a successful long-term position in an environment where cost- and resource-effectiveness are essential to staying competitive. 

One noteworthy solution that contributes to these energy-efficiency goals is Seagate Mozaic 3+. This innovative hard drive platform is designed with power-saving features that optimize energy consumption in data centers. By choosing Mozaic 3+ and CORVAULT for storage needs, businesses can significantly reduce power usage, resulting in lower utility bills and long-term cost savings. 

The Balance Between Footprint and Efficiency 

Striking a delicate balance between minimizing the data center footprint and maximizing efficiency is the hallmark of a sustainable data center. A business achieves optimal performance when its data center operates with the least possible environmental impact.  

This balance is not a compromise but a strategic alignment that ensures businesses meet their operational needs while fulfilling their commitment to environmental responsibility. As businesses navigate the complexities of this dynamic equilibrium, they set the stage for increased revenue through a green and efficient data center strategy. 

Tips to Reduce Carbon Footprint 

Although businesses acknowledge the importance of reducing their carbon footprint of data storage, they are often confused about how to get started. Here are some pointers for navigating the intersection of operational efficiency and ecological responsibility in data center storage.  

From calculating your current environmental impact to adopting advanced technologies and renewable energy sources, each method is a stepping stone toward a more sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally conscious data center. Your data center should not only perform optimally but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable world. 

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint 

Understanding your data center’s current carbon footprint is the first step toward improvement. Begin by employing carbon footprint calculators and Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools, which provide a comprehensive assessment of your energy usage, resource allocation, and overall environmental footprint. This lays the groundwork for informed decision-making and strategic improvements. 

Identifying High and Low Workload Periods 

Optimize energy usage by identifying high and low workload periods. Implement load-balancing strategies and schedule resource-intensive tasks during periods of lower energy demand. By doing so, businesses can achieve energy efficiency and cost savings during peak usage times. 

Redistributing Jobs 

Distribute workloads efficiently across servers to avoid overloading specific hardware. This not only improves overall system performance and computational power but also contributes to greener data center workloads. By avoiding overloading specific hardware and ensuring a balanced distribution of tasks, businesses enhance overall system performance while contributing to significant energy savings. This approach aligns with both environmental responsibility and operational efficiency. 

Improving Your Storage Management 

Efficient storage management practices, such as data deduplication and compression, can reduce storage requirements and lower energy consumption. Efficient storage management practices play a crucial role in reducing energy consumption. Implement strategies such as data deduplication and compression to minimize storage requirements. By optimizing storage management, businesses enhance data accessibility and retrieval and contribute to lower energy consumption to develop a greener data center. 

Optimizing Cooling Systems 

Cooling systems are significant contributors to energy usage in data centers. A more carbon neutral data center has advanced liquid cooling technologies that optimize airflow for increased efficiency. These systems are significant contributors to energy usage in data centers.  

Businesses can implement advanced cooling technologies, optimize airflow, and explore liquid cooling solutions to enhance overall efficiency. By addressing cooling systems, businesses reduce energy consumption and improve the overall sustainability of data center operations. 

To further enhance sustainability, businesses should explore the reuse of the heat generated by data centers. This excess heat can be harnessed for various purposes, such as generating electricity or heating buildings and cities. Utilizing waste heat in this manner reduces energy waste and contributes to the broader goal of achieving carbon-neutral operations. 

Adopting Renewable Energy Sources 

Transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind power, can drastically reduce the carbon footprint of your data center. Consider partnerships with green energy providers to make your operations more sustainable. A transformative step towards sustainability involves transitioning to renewable energy sources. Explore options such as solar or wind power to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of your data storage at your data center.  

Leveraging DCIM 

DCIM tools offer valuable insights into resource utilization, energy consumption, and overall efficiency. Businesses can utilize these tools to generate reports to make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and continually optimize their data center’s energy utilization. These tools provide a holistic view of data center operations, empowering businesses to navigate the path to sustainability and clean energy with precision. 

How Seagate Helps Reduce Your Data Center Footprint 

Seagate is at the forefront of providing storage solutions that align with sustainable data center practices. Our cutting edge products, such as Exos CORVAULT offer high-capacity, energy-efficient storage, contributing to a reduced environmental impact. Explore how Seagate Application Platforms can further optimize your data center operations.  

Managing your data center’s footprint is not only an environmental responsibility but a strategic move for financial gains and improves business reputation. By understanding the factors influencing your data center’s carbon footprint and implementing practical tips for efficiency, you contribute to a sustainable and thriving future for your organization. Talk to a Seagate expert today to explore how our solutions can enhance data center sustainability.