Big chunks of ‘dark data’ polluting data centers worldwide, says tech firm

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Storing digital data that is never used – known as dark data — can consume an enormous amount of energy and, as a result, produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide that is harmful to the environment.

Software firm Veritas said it estimates that 5.8 million tons of carbon dioxide will be unnecessarily pumped into the atmosphere as a result of powering the storage of this kind of data this year alone. In order to protect the planet from this waste, the US tech firm said businesses need to get on top of their data management strategies, use the right tools to identify which data is valuable, and rid their data centers of “dark data”.

On average, 52 percent of all data stored by organizations worldwide is “dark” as those responsible for managing it don’t have any idea about its content or value, according to Veritas. The company said much has been said about the financial cost of dark data but the environmental cost has, so far, often been overlooked.

Analysts predict that the amount of data that the world will be storing will grow from 33ZB in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025. This implies that, unless people change their habits, there will be 91ZB of dark data in five years’ time – over four times the volume today, with all the energy associated with powering the infrastructure in which it lives.

“Around the world, individuals and companies are working to reduce their carbon footprints, but dark data doesn’t often feature on people’s action lists,” said Ravi Rajendran, vice president and managing director for Asia South Region at Veritas Technologies.

“However, dark data is producing more carbon dioxide than 80 different countries do individually, so it’s clear that this is an issue that everyone needs to start taking really seriously. Filtering dark data, and deleting the information that’s not needed, should become a moral imperative for businesses everywhere,” he said.

According to a Cushman & Wakefield report, Southeast Asia will be the fastest-growing region for co-location data centers over the next five years, with an expected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent from 2019 to 2024. Singapore was also ranked the third most robust data center market in the world.

Rajendran said the IT industry has to get ahead of the challenge as data volumes are getting bigger every year.

“We’re predicting huge growth in the amount of data being created by IoT devices, and this is what industry analysts suggest will comprise the lions’ share of the 175ZB of data we’re expecting by 2025. Businesses need to understand this type of data, and the storage policies around it, so that we don’t see emissions spiral,” Rajendran said.

“But, we can all play a role in this individually too. Nearly every one of us stores data that we’ll never access again, simply because cloud storage is so cheap and available to us – thousands of videos and photos that we’ll never look at, or emails that we’ll never read – and there are hundreds of millions of people doing this.  Businesses and consumers everywhere need to learn how to manage their data for the sake of the planet.”

Facebook Comments

Latest Posts

Archives