The Rise of Computational Storage in Data Centers by JB Baker

a graphic representation of a data center with computational storage

In an age of rapid digital growth, data centers stand at the forefront of connectivity worldwide. However, their operation and subsequent demand for storage raise environmental concerns given the significant amount of energy they consume.

As concerns surrounding sustainability grow, companies are facing an urgent need to innovate and adopt solutions that can balance performance and sustainability.

The Energy Dilemma

The rise in data-driven tech, like artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency mining, have led to a significant rise in electricity use in data centers. According to recent studies, data centers are projected to account for 13% of global electricity consumption by 2030, a statistic that underscores the growing need for energy-efficient solutions.

This means that without push for more sustainable solutions, data centers could drastically escalate energy consumption worldwide, deepening environmental concerns.

Currently, global electricity consumption due to data centers is on track to reach 1,000 TWh by 2026, marking a 117% increase since 2022. Further, server power consumption has skyrocketed by 266% since 2017, which makes it difficult to meet energy demands for the future.

In response, data center managers are pivoting to meet the growing demands of a domineering digital world. 68% of data center managers are actively seeking ways to enhance energy performance, with nearly 90% ranking power consumption reduction as their top priority. The need for sustainable solutions that prioritize energy efficiency and environmental responsibility is becoming increasingly urgent.

Computational storage, for instance, is a concept in which the storage devices take over some of the data manipulation tasks to free up CPU cycles and/or reduce data traffic, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly for companies to adopt.

The Emergence of Computational Storage

Computational storage technology streamlines data processing – reducing the time and energy required for data transfer between storage and CPUs. This not only enhances the overall efficiency of the system itself but also aligns with global sustainability efforts.

There have been significant advancements in computational storage solutions. This year, the NVM Express consortium updated its specifications to include a Computational Storage Feature, which allows applications to efficiently communicate with storage devices that have their own processing capabilities. These updates introduce new command sets aimed at enhancing data processing directly on storage devices, which is expected to improve overall system performance and energy efficiency.

As data centers work to meet the dual demands of performance and sustainability, computational storage technology provides a transformative approach. By integrating processing capabilities directly into storage devices, organizations can achieve lightning-fast data processing speeds while maintaining a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Balancing Performance and Sustainability

One of the main advantages of computational storage technology is the balance it creates between high-performance data processing and environmental sustainability goals.

Traditionally, high-performance computing solutions come at the expense of energy efficiency. With computational storage, organizations can achieve lightning-fast data processing speeds without compromising eco-friendliness.

For many years, companies turned to cloud storage to manage their data but are slowly turning back to in-house storage solutions. The shift comes after recognizing the limitations of relying solely on cloud storage solutions. Computational storage helps mitigate the need to migrate company data to a third party’s infrastructure and improve the economics and efficiency of on-prem infrastructure.

Why This Matters

Incorporating computational storage solutions represents an important turning point in the ongoing quest for sustainable data management practices. At its core, this shift represents more than just a tech advancement; it embodies a commitment to reducing the environmental consequences that have come with the digital age.

By reducing the reliance on energy-consuming computing methods, organizations can minimize their carbon footprint and contribute to global sustainability efforts. This shift not only benefits individual companies but also has the potential to benefit the future of data management and environmental sustainability overall.

As the demand to address climate change grows, embracing innovative solutions has become crucial in ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. Computational storage solutions are only the beginning of the revolution to come for technology.

Looking Ahead: A Greener Future for Data Centers

As the landscape of data centers continues to evolve, the role of innovative technologies that align with a sustainable, eco-friendly environment, are at the forefront of priority for data-driven companies.

By harnessing the power of computational storage, organizations can not only unlock new levels of performance but also pave the way for a greener, more efficient future for data centers worldwide.

The rise of computational storage solutions marks the beginning of a new era in energy-efficient data processing. Due to its ability to optimize performance while minimizing environmental impact, computational storage could revolutionize the way data centers operate in years to come.


About JB Baker and ScaleFlux

JB Baker, Vice President of Products at ScaleFlux, brings over 20 years of experience and insight in data storage into the forefront of computational storage technology.  ScaleFlux is redefining the IT infrastructure landscape, championing innovation in the compute, memory, and storage pipeline to unlock unprecedented performance, efficiency, and scalability.

a headshot of JB Baker from ScaleFlux