Fujifilm sponsored study reveals lack of awareness about environmental impact of data storage solutions
Research highlights the need to address increased energy consumption and carbon emissions from data centers
November 22, 2021
VALHALLA N.Y.– November 22, 2021 -- FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. today released the results of a global environmental awareness survey that found that while the majority (83%) of respondents cite Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) services and equipment as a sustainability priority, more than one-third (38%) of U.S. business leaders are either unaware or unsure of how inefficient data storage can negatively impact the environment.
The study, titled Awareness Survey on Environmental Issues in the Digital Domain, surveyed 1,200 C-suite executives in four countries: Japan, the United States, Germany and China. While there is a sense of growing awareness around broader environmental issues among corporate leaders, the findings highlight a gap in education that must be bridged to address inefficient energy consumption in ICT operations. For example, while the majority of U.S. respondents believe sustainability improvements in ICT services and equipment can positively impact a changing climate, 40% indicated that they did not know or were unsure if data storage can have a negative environmental impact and increase the cost of doing business.
The need for large-scale data storage is on the rise and is expected to reach more than 11 zettabytes (or 11 trillion gigabytes) by 2025, according to a recent whitepaper by IDC. As demand rises, so too does the need for energy efficient data storage. The environmental impact of the energy required to support this volume of storage is vastly underestimated, as are the subsequent carbon emissions. In fact, when asked in the survey what barriers exist for those who have not considered more eco-friendly data storage options, globally more than one-third (34%) and 31% in the U.S. cited a lack of awareness or understanding of the issue.
“We have clearly seen that with the increase in data storage in recent years, the energy consumed by data centers has increased at an alarming rate. Our survey shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of optimizing data management to decrease impact on the environment,” said Hironobu Taketomi, president, FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. “Fujifilm looks forward to working with other industry stakeholders to identify solutions, such as tape storage, that can help mitigate carbon emissions from storing data, which will help support the technical area of the United Nations Paris Agreement framework designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.”
Additional findings among U.S. respondents include:
- While most respondents indicated that sustainability plays an important role in decision-making, 16% said that it did not and 22% of those surveyed shared that their companies do not take any measures toward reducing carbon emissions.
- More than half (51%) of participants said that their companies are using renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions, while 22% said they are doing so via climate protection projects and 13% through carbon offsets.
- Manufacturing (21%) and supply chain/transportation (21%) were perceived as the business areas that contributed the most to carbon emissions, versus 12% for data storage/management.
- There was also a knowledge gap pertaining to frequently accessed “hot” data and less frequently accessed “cold” data, with more than one-third (36%) of respondents saying they either don’t or are unsure if they differentiate between the two. And 35% don’t realize that differentiating between hot and cold data can impact sustainability, affordability and security.
- The vast majority of U.S. respondents (84%) indicated ICT Services and equipment as priority areas for their organization to positively impact climate change, followed by recycling/waste (80%), facilities energy consumption (78%), and employee and customer awareness (78%).
- When asked about barriers to adopting more sustainable data storage strategies, respondents cited lack of awareness (31%) as the top reason for not making a change, followed by too much work (30%) and budget (26%).
- Additionally, a clear majority of respondents (81%) noted that they would consider an alternative data storage option that is more sustainable and affordable.
The survey is the latest initiative from Fujifilm supporting the environmental benefits of tape storage. In September, the company announced the launch of its LTO Ultrium 9 Data Cartridge, providing long-term data storage and increased capacity while continuing to help reduce CO2 emissions. This was followed by the October launch of the Sustainable Data Storage Initiative, focusing on the benefits of tape technology to decrease energy use and CO2 emissions from data storage.
For example, alternative options for storage include LTO data tape. Migrating cold data from Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to tape can reduce data centers’ CO2 emissions by 43.7% by 2030, avoiding 664 M metric tons of CO2 cumulatively, according to IDC.
The survey was conducted online by Panelbase among a sample of 1,200 C-suite professionals (including CEO, CFO, CSO, CTO and CIO) in companies of 100 or more employees in the United States, Germany, Japan and China on behalf of FUJFILM Recording Media from November 2-5, 2021.
FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. is FUJIFILM Corporation’s U.S.-based manufacturing, marketing and sales operation for data tape media and data management solutions. The company provides data center customers and enterprise industry partners with a wide range of innovative recording media products and archival solutions. Based on a history of thin-film engineering and magnetic particle science such as Fujifilm’s NANOCUBIC™ and Barium Ferrite technology, Fujifilm creates breakthrough data storage products. Worldwide, Fujifilm and its affiliates have surpassed the 170 million milestone for the number of LTO ULTRIUM data cartridges manufactured and sold since introduction, establishing the company as the leading global manufacturer of mid-range and enterprise data tape.
For more information on FUJIFILM Recording Media products, call 800-488-3854 or go to https://www.fujifilm.com/us/en/business/data-storage. For more information about FUJIFILM Object Archive software, visit http://fujifilmobjectarchive.com.
FUJIFILM Corporation is an operating company of FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation. FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, advanced materials, document solutions and imaging products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2021, the company had global revenues of $21 billion, at an exchange rate of 106 yen to the dollar. The Fujifilm global family of companies is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com
 Includes CEO, CFO, CSO, CTO and CIO
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