Product Stewardship and Efficiency
EMC’s social and environmental impacts expand far beyond the technologies and resources needed to create our products. By developing more efficient products and solutions, we can redefine how we use energy, water and materials in order to reduce GHG emissions, waste and costs – both for EMC and our customers. These improvements, which apply to both hardware and software products, include embedding sustainability into every step of the lifecycle, delivering industry-leading functionality to manage demand, driving increased energy efficiency, and tightly integrating our products within the data center.
To learn more about how data center efficiencies come to life at EMC, visit Efficient Data Centers.
Identifying Impacts via Lifecycle Analysis
Environmental Lifecycle Analyses confirm our expectations that more than 90 percent of the lifecycle impacts of our products are due to generation of electricity consumed during the use phase.
CAPTION: GHG Emissions Per Stage of a Representative EMC Midrange Product (LCA)
Efficiency throughout the Business
The Product Sustainability Assessment evaluates all hardware and software product releases against energy efficiency requirements for features and performance. By integrating it into EMC’s overall business readiness process, we have increased visibility and cross-company awareness of sustainable product design. In 2015, we assessed 18 product releases against these criteria – an 80% increase over 2014.
The following topics are covered in this section:
- Design for Environment
- Efficient Drives
- Efficient Power & Cooling
- Emissions for EMC Products
Design for Environment
In addition to the Product Sustainability Assessment process, we take other steps to measure and improve the sustainability of our hardware products. This includes a Design for Environment (DfE) approach that uses current product development to inform future sustainability practices in hardware. It starts with our designers and architects who gain sustainability insights by using proxy indication systems embedded in their design tools. As work continues, our hardware engineers consult development checklists to ensure products adhere to our corporate standards and best practices. During the final stage, when products become ready for general release, we conduct screening-level environmental lifecycle analyses on representative product configurations to inform future efforts.
We continue to focus on:
- Increasing the energy efficiency of our hardware and software products
- Designing products to operate well in efficient Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) environments
- Implementing standards that help measure and define areas for energy-efficient operations of IT equipment
- Working with suppliers to reduce impacts of manufacturing disk drives
- Investigating less carbon-intensive options for transport of products and components, including cabinets and other high volume, heavy components
- Exploring additional lightweighting techniques
- Reducing impacts of product materials using informed design decisions
- Collaborating with suppliers to continually reduce environmental impacts from materials used in our products
- Improving packaging efficiency and increasing use of recycled and recyclable materials in packaging design
- Maximizing recoverability and recyclability of products at end of use
In addition to DfE, EMC has incorporated the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) environmental standards into our hardware development process. ASHRAE is a building technology society with more than 54,000 members worldwide, and focuses on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. ASHRAE develops standards for refrigeration processes and the design and maintenance of indoor environments. Since September 2013, we have used the ASHRAE standards for all relevant products. To learn more about these standards, visit the ASHRAE website.
We continually strive to deliver significant energy savings through products and technologies such as virtual provisioning (thin provisioning), data deduplication, compression, and Fully Automated Storage Tiering (EMC FAST®). In 2015, we added two new capabilities that increase both efficiency and effectiveness: Geographically-Dispersed Erasure Coding and integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM).
- Geographically Dispersed Erasure Coding allows scale-out storage products to ensure data can be reconstructed in the event of node failures without depending on fully replicating data. Customers’ data is protected as efficiently as possible, requiring only one third of the incremental space of fully redundant storage.
- iCDM combines compression technology and in-memory copies to allow database administrators to make space-efficient copies of critical data set. This capability enables high resilience in an energy-efficient manner.
To learn more about the implications for data centers or how we use this hands-on experience as a guide to help our customers, visit Efficient Data Centers .
EMC offers a variety of disk drives to meet varying needs of capacity, performance and cost – each with its own set of characteristics to consider when pursuing energy efficiency. For example, capacity-oriented drives run at lower revolutions per minute (rpm) but have higher capacity-per-watt levels, while performance-oriented drives have lower capacities and run at higher rpm, but have higher performance-per-watt ratings.
EMC was the first in the industry to use highly efficient flash, or solid state, drives in enterprise storage systems, and that technology has since become prevalent throughout the market. Enterprise flash drives use up to 97.7 percent less energy per IOPS (operations per second) than performance-oriented spinning drives and up to 38 percent less energy per terabyte of data stored. The performance improvements and energy savings result from their solid state nature; they do not spin like conventional disk drives and they perform from one to three orders of magnitude faster. This greatly reduces the total number of drives required across a system to achieve the same performance targets. EMC FAST technology leverages combinations of flash, high rpm performance drives and low rpm high-capacity drives to achieve greater performance and capacity levels at significantly lower power levels than can be achieved by spinning drives alone.
Our XtremIO® products use only flash drives in their configurations. They augment the efficiency of this high-performing solution through the comprehensive use of deduplication technology for greater capacity utilization. This results in significant capacity and energy savings at industry-leading performance levels for our customers.
EMC will continue to identify meaningful all-flash products to add to our portfolio.
Efficient Power & Cooling
Beyond drives, there are three other key initiatives aimed at reducing power use in our storage platforms:
- Using more efficient power supplies to reduce energy loss as power is delivered to the storage platform. The use of high-efficiency power supplies reduces total equipment power and minimizes the generation of waste heat. Power supplies in our storage products have achieved either “Gold” or “Platinum” ratings on the 80 PLUS benchmark.
- Embedding instrumentation to monitor and report power use and ambient temperature.
- Embracing adaptive cooling technology to save energy by dynamically adjusting fan speeds in the storage platform. Our adaptive cooling technology continuously samples the operating environment and adjusts fan operation to minimize power consumption, while maintaining reliability.
Emissions from Use of Sold Products
EMC estimates that the lifetime GHG emissions from use of EMC products shipped to customers during 2015 will be approximately 3,392,352 metric tons CO2e. This value represents our customers’ Scope 2 GHG emissions from powering our equipment. It is based on an assumed product lifespan of five years and includes overhead for power distribution and cooling with an average PUE of 1.7.
EMC’s configurations vary substantially from customer to customer, as well as over time with a single customer. As such, it is not possible to sum the expected emissions from each and every system shipped in 2015 or to measure an expected lifetime. Rather, this estimate is based on the measured power consumption of disk drives, the inventory of disk drives shipped in 2015, an engineering estimate that of 80 percent of system power is attributable to the disk subsystems, and an extremely conservative average system utilization of 90 percent.
We believe this approach to be conservative (i.e., that the directly measured value, if feasible to obtain, would be lower) as our calculation takes into consideration neither the reduction over time in carbon-intensity of fuel used by our customers, nor improvements in data center power and cooling efficiency.
This estimation reflects an overall decrease in Scope 3 Product in Use emissions as compared to 2014. This difference stems from both market factors and a shift to adoption of new technologies.
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