Energy Use & Climate Change


Each and every day, EMC IT strives to advance our vision and strategy for delivering secure cloud computing and Big Data while delivering IT services to our business units.

EMC leverages our leadership in information management and cloud computing to transform our own IT operations to deliver IT as a Service (ITaas) to the business. We develop and apply our technology solutions and industry best practices for energy-efficient virtual data centers. In doing so, we are addressing the same challenges EMC customers face in their respective organizations—providing purposeful, innovative, and transformative solutions to manage digital information growth, while working within the constraints of energy and space, and growing business demand.


EMC IT supports approximately 60,000 “internal” users working in approximately 400 sales and corporate offices in more than 86 countries—not to mention our large telecommuting population. EMC’s Global IT environment spans four data centers with 10,000 OS Images and 92 percent of all servers virtualized, and hosts more than 500 applications and 13 PB of information storage.

EMC IT began its multi-year journey to the cloud in 2004. What began as “doing more with less” became an opportunity to completely rethink the way IT is built, managed, and consumed. Virtualization, cloud computing, and ITaaS provide EMC with an opportunity to improve efficiency, gain agility, enable business innovation, and create competitive advantage for EMC.

Our initial goal was to reduce IT costs by consolidating and virtualizing the IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, networks, and desktops. This resulted in significantly higher utilization rates for storage and servers and dramatically improved efficiency and power consumption in our data centers. We then focused on improving quality of service and time-to-value for our business units and employees. EMC accomplished this by extending virtualization to existing business-owned, mission-critical applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), email, customer relationship management (CRM), and decision support/business intelligence.

Rather than building complex, custom solutions for every need throughout the company, EMC IT began automating, simplifying, and packaging competitive IT services for dynamic selection. The EMC IT service catalog offers transparent prices and service levels that give the business choices based on needs, usage, and budget. EMC IT’s cloud operating model enables the business to embrace our strategic technology and application platforms for a broader spectrum of choice, while allowing EMC IT to spend more time consulting proactively with our business professionals in support of their strategic objectives.

While our journey was fueled initially by economic reasons, it has also produced environmental benefits from both lower GHG emissions and reduced material consumption.

To learn more about our cloud journey, please visit EMC IT Proven .


Virtualization and cloud computing are improving energy efficiency in our data centers. By leveraging our own products and technologies—virtualization, data deduplication, and Fully Automated Storage Tiering (EMC® FAST™)—we are delivering significant energy and cost savings on our journey to the cloud.

Dynamic allocation of server and storage resources in a highly virtualized IT infrastructure allows us to strike the right balance between energy efficiency and business performance.

Our virtualization strategy includes:

  • Tiered, shared, and virtualized server and storage—based on the VCE Vblock® converged infrastructure
  • Virtual (thin) provisioning of IT infrastructure
  • Integrated management and automation for virtualized infrastructure

By the end of 2012, EMC IT had virtualized 92 percent of OS images using the VMware® vSphere® platform. On average, we are achieving virtual to physical consolidation ratios of 14:1. Capacity utilization rates across compute and storage have increased to about 75 percent. EMC FAST VPTM technology, which automatically moves data to the appropriate tier of storage, such as flash drives for ultra-high performance or SATA drives for infrequently used information, is further optimizing our storage infrastructure for performance, energy-efficiency, and cost.

By deploying EMC Avamar® and Data Domain® data deduplication solutions, EMC IT has transformed backup and restore. We have eliminated backup for certain applications by providing online archiving, removing more than 1 PB of email, file system, and database data from the backup schedule. Data deduplication, using Data Domain for databases and Avamar for virtual machines (VMs) and file systems, has further reduced the amount of data to be backed up—and reduced backup times by 75 percent. Avamar is also used to centralize backups for 121 remote sites, increasing data availability and eliminating offsite backup costs.

Deduplication Backup Savings

From Q3 2009 through 2012, the total amount of data being protected rose from 7 PB to 17.2 PB, including temporary data copies required for migration to the Durham data center. However, because of the deduplication efficiency of Avamar and Data Domain, the backup capacity required to protect that data only increased from 3 PB to 5.2 PB.

Results to-date of EMC’s Cloud Transformation


2004 2011 2012
EMC REVENUE $8.2 billion $20 billion $21.7 billion
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 22,700 53,000 60,000
NUMBER OF SERVERS 2,000 Physical
1,800 physical servers
hosting 7000 OS images
1,500 physical servers
hosting 10.000 OS images
TIME TO PROVISION INFRASTRUCTURE 90 days ~1 day ~1 day or less

Operationally, from 2004-2012, our IT transformation has saved the company millions of dollars while improving productivity and driving value and agility for the business. During this period, EMC IT realized capital savings of $157 million and operational savings of $66 million. In 2012, the Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from EMC data centers were approximately 16,377 metric tons CO2e.


Although EMC opened the doors to its new Durham cloud data center on September 15, 2011, most of the migration of activity to Durham occurred in 2012. Built with leading technology solutions from EMC, VMware, and the VCE Company, the 100 percent virtual Durham data center is the foundation for EMC IT’s cloud vision and transformation to ITaaS. The new data center enables EMC IT to deliver the agility, flexibility, and scalability needed for current and future business needs. For example, all applications run on a single version of the VMware vSphere platform within an x86 enterprise hosting architecture. Additionally, this state-of-the-art facility provides a world-class showcase for customers and enables employees to tap into cloud capabilities through its global R&D labs. To learn more, please review the Migration to Virtualization at the Durham Cloud Data Center case study.

This Tier III data center meets a stringent annualized PUE objective of 1.3, and we learned in 2012 that we will be receiving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in 2013. Environmental innovations include a rooftop water-collection system that provides 40 percent of our water needs, free outside air cooling for 57 percent of the year, and flywheel technology that eliminates the need for batteries in uninterruptable power systems (UPS). Despite increased server and storage demand in the Durham data center, EMC IT managed to save 280 watts per server with virtualization and has reduced power consumption per terabyte of storage by 82 percent.

To learn more about the energy efficient design and construction at Durham cloud data center, visit Efficient Facilities.

Additional Information

White paper: EMC IT: Leading the Transformation

EMC Durham Cloud Data Center—Application & Data Migration

EMC Durham Cloud Data Center—Migration Planning and Program Management