The Looming Backlash Against the Data Storage Industry

Did you know that 4% of the World’s entire energy production goes to managing data centers ⁽¹⁾, equating to 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions?⁽²⁾ And the problem is only getting worse! With the current growth trends, we will need 10% of the world’s energy to manage our data in the next few years.⁽³⁾

The digital economy has brought great benefits to our society. But the elephant in the room is that the whirring and humming of the data-industrial complex is gradually making our planet uninhabitable while also displacing and consuming our precious resources, farmland and water.

We can break this cycle! But first, let’s explain why the green data storage revolution needs to take place.

The Cloud Rush

The fashion in recent years has been a “Cloud First” strategy to migrate enterprise data to the Cloud. Management consultancy Gartner reported that public Cloud services are set to grow over 20% to $592B in 2023. Their survey of 750 C-level leaders noted that about 20-30% of work is being done through the Cloud. And according to Fortune, more than 92% of companies use services that are connected to or run in the Cloud.⁽¹⁰⁾

But the tide is turning. As we noted in a recent blog, data rich clients are looking to reduce the high costs of maintaining their data in the Cloud. As data continues to grow for companies increasingly relying on data to improve their bottom line, the punishing costs of Cloud to manage this data, have them looking for alternatives.

A survey by 451 Research found that 48% of 600 companies had migrated their data back from AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platforms to another location. In total, 86% opted to repatriate data and move IT operations back to their own data center.

In one a recent article entitled, “2023 Could Be The Year of Public Cloud Repatriation”, David Linthicum – a Cloud Strategy Officer for Deloitte – explains why.

“The cloud bills are higher than expected because lifted-and-shifted applications can’t take advantage of native capabilities such as auto-scaling, security, and storage management that allow workloads to function efficiently.”

In addition, organizations applying big data analytics in the Cloud find the costs of data functions like search, compute, ingress, egress and transport costs are significant and rising.


Taking a Toll on the Grid

Energy guzzling data centers, like Detroit’s early gas guzzling cars, are also becoming a focal point of public opposition. Recently, environmental campaigners appealed against a new data center in Ireland that will span 145 acres and consume enough electricity to power 200,000 homes.⁽¹¹⁾ This comes at a time when The Greater London Authority has noted that housing developments may be restricted in size due to constraints on the electricity grid. Not surprisingly, the backlash against such projects is mounting, particularly as electricity shortages cast a shadow over countries like the UK and Germany. And in Ashburn Virginia, data center alley, data center development has hit a brick wall as the local utility is unable to meet the power demands for new construction.


The Scourge of Electronic Waste

Energy is not the only challenge to the data storage industry. The industry’s environmental footprint is compounded by the scourge of mounting piles of electronic waste. Most data centers undertake a wholesale replacement of all their servers every 3-5 years out of caution, to prevent data loss as a portion of servers begin to fail. However, most of the servers could last much longer, but are replaced out of caution because operators don’t know which ones are going to fail as they pass their warranty. What a waste!


How to Break the Cycle?

Can we manage our most sensitive and mission-critical data more efficiently on-premises or in co-location centers?
At Swiss Vault, we have designed innovative software and hardware to address many of these challenges. Our active archive software, Vault File System (VFS), uses erasure coding to reduce data volumes while increasing data availability. If simultaneous loss of a nodes occurs, or worse a server is stolen, the system will automatically rebuild the loss data chunks from existing fragmented files. VFS’s recognition and “self-healing” property allows servers to run to the end of their life, resulting in less electronic waste.

Swiss Vault is also designing hardware that is 10 times more energy efficient and 14 times more space efficient compared to standard equipment. Although our software and hardware can run on any other manufacturer’s systems, their impact is magnified when used together.

At Swiss Vault, it’s our mission to re-imagine data storage and provide organizations with technology that is economical, resilient, and sustainable.

We believe there is a way to do things better.

If you would like to find out more, contact us today.


(1) Source : Wavestone
(2) Source :
(3) Source: Swiss Vault video
(4) Technology Magazine:
(5) MIT Press:,energy%20than%20some%20nation%2Dstates.
(9) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory