Pure Storage takes ESG seriously, making it not just a pillar of its messaging but a core part of the company’s values. Earlier this month Pure Storage released its annual ESG Report, detailing its progress on the environmental, social, and governance issues that most impact the company, its customers and its stakeholders.
Insight: Pure’s Flash Efficiency
Despite a decade of flash storage innovation, the reality is that nearly all data (Pure estimates that it’s over 80% of an organization’s data) within a typical data center continues to live on traditional mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs). Pure Storage’s flash storage technology consumes 5x and 10x less power than comparable HDDs. While moving from HDDs to flash provides some benefit, Pure’s flash-optimized systems generally deliver between 2x and 5x less power than all-flash systems from competing vendors. That’s a compelling difference.
Pure estimates that migrating the 80% of data that lives on mechanical HDDs to all-flash would reduce data center power consumption by approximately 20%. Doing so also leads to a higher-density data center. It also enables a corresponding reduction in e-waste.
Pure Storage is on a mission to move all data from legacy HDD-based systems to all-flash. Key to this mission is the company’s efforts to control its flash storage technology. Rather than using the same off-the-shelf SSDs that other vendors put into their products, Pure Storage builds its own Flash Core Modules (FCM) based on its DirectFlash technology.
Pure’s DirectFlash architecture allows the company to optimize performance, storage density, and energy efficiency. DirectFlash, for example, allows Pure Storage to remove the DRAM buffers typically found in SSDs. This may seem insignificant, but using less DRAM consumes less power. Pure Storage tells us that its products reduce energy use and carbon emissions by up to 85% compared to competing all-flash systems.
DirectFlash also enables the company to deliver the highest-density flash drives available. Pure’s high-density flash storage, coupled with the adoption of QLC NAND in some configurations, allows enterprises to affordably migrate near-line storage from energy-hungry HDD-based systems to Pure’s all-flash storage.
The benefits are tangible. Pure’s 2023 ESG Report shows that it’s on a path to achieve more than a 200x reduction in energy consumed per effective terabyte as compared to earlier product models. The potential energy savings could be as much as 370 Tera-Watt Hours (TWh) by 2030.
Insight: Sustainability of Pure Evergreen
Evergreen is Pure Storage’s range of subscription and longevity offerings. Pure Evergreen//One allows its customers to consume storage as a service in their data center or the cloud. Evergreen//Forever, on the other hand, provides an ongoing subscription that allows customers to upgrade elements of their systems over time, keeping the storage fresh. While this may seem like just another offering, it has concrete sustainability benefits.
Pure tells us that its Evergreen programs significantly reduce the amount of e-waste its products generate. For example, IT shops no longer need to fully replace their storage arrays, instead replacing just the controllers in an array as new generations emerge. This extends the useful life of the storage system by up to 10 years.
The company repurposes the equipment rather than destroying the components replaced as part of its Evergreen program. Pure Storage refurbishes the controllers and puts them into its internal technical labs. Pure tells us that in FY23, it reused over one-third of the controllers it upgraded in the field. The controllers that weren’t repurposed were recycled with partners with certified zero-waste-stream operations.
There is also a sustainability benefit to Pure’s Evergreen//One as-a-service offering. In order ot support long-term growth projections, traditional on-prem storage models force buyers to deploy more storage than needed. This is wasteful model that goes away with an as-a-service model. Pure’s Evergreen//One allows for provisioning as storage needs evolve, minimizing the amount of capacity powered-on in the rack.
Pure further offers its customers the industry’s first Energy Efficiency SLA to add predictability to energy consumption and aid in pursuing emissions goals.
In today’s environment, delivering sustainable products to market isn’t enough. A company must continually prove its own ESG capabilities. Pure Storage does this in its annual ESG Report. In this report, Pure talks about its environmental footprint, supply chain sustainability, and climate resilience efforts. The report also delves into governance, ethical, privacy, and security-related concerns.
Pure Storage, for example, tells us that most of its offices are placed in certified green buildings. The company also diverts an astonishing 97% of its data center waste away from the landfill. The company also aggressively manages its supply chain to ensure its suppliers meet rigid demands spanning topics as diverse as environmental performance and ethical operations.
Many elements contribute to a comprehensive ESG program. The Pure Storage 2023 ESG Report spans 74 pages, going into everything covered in this column, but it also includes a lot more. I encourage anyone interested in ESG to read through what Pure has published. There’s a lot of goodness there.
Pure Storage’s approach to ESG is embedded in its approach to its products and operations. The company has taken the lead on sustainability in the storage industry and its design choices as it builds its all-flash storage products. Beyond its products, Pure operates to a stringent set of ESG-related principles that are second to none in the industry, contributing to Pure Storage’s position as one of the most compelling technology vendors in the market.