What Is Your Data Center Footprint (& How Can It Impact Your IT Budget)?

data center footprint

It’s not surprising that a company as vast and valuable as Google has some big data centers. The first Google-owned-and-operated data center was opened at The Dalles, Oregon in 2006. Per some estimates, this data center occupies an area of about 200,000 square feet, making it one of Google’s largest data centers. This one data center consumed 29% of The Dalles’ total water consumption in 2022, according to another report.

Google is just one example of an organization whose expanding data centers extensively use resources like land and water. In general, any organization that owns and/or maintains a data center must understand how its increasing footprint could impact business costs, profits, and environmental position.

The Cost of Expanding Data Center Footprints

In any data center, all IT assets, devices, cages, cabinets, and racks take up some space. This physical, tangible space constitutes the data center’s footprint. As an organization’s data center footprint increases, it can create numerous challenges that may overshadow its benefits.

For one, the larger the footprint, the more resources it consumes for day-to-day operations. Google would likely not consume 29% of The Dalles’ total water supply if its data center was smaller. Needless to say, the more resources it consumes, the greater the costs of upkeep and maintenance.

In addition to more water, a larger data center also needs more electricity, which will increase the size of its electricity bill. The environmental impact and carbon footprint of a large data center, particularly if it runs on coal-powered electricity can also be pretty large, which can have a tangible impact on both its costs and revenues. In many countries, organizations are required by law to pay a carbon tax. The more carbon-emitting fossil fuels they use to run their data centers, the higher the tax. Fines are another potential cost if they flout environmental laws or contribute to air or water pollution.

Larger data centers also generate huge amounts of electronic waste, some of which may house sensitive data. If such equipment is not properly disposed of, it can leave the organization vulnerable to data theft and related security risks. It can also increase their legal and environmental liability, particularly in countries where the focus on enterprise ESG governance is increasing.

Benefits of Shrinking Your Data Center Footprint with the Cloud

Migrating to the cloud is one of the best ways to reduce your data center footprint. Doing this can reduce property maintenance costs and lower energy bills. It can also reduce the costs of purchasing and maintaining IT assets. Furthermore, it can reduce the costs associated with supporting infrastructure for these assets, such as cooling equipment, generators, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and power distribution units.

Moving to the cloud can also make enterprise IT teams leaner, more efficient, and better able to focus on higher-value tasks. In addition, it enables IT managers and enterprise leaders to keep pace with rising workload demands while accelerating the pace of technological innovation.

How to Reduce Your Data Footprint with the Cloud

That said, a move to the cloud requires a robust strategy and a well-planned roadmap. Start with this FREE whitepaper, “7 Concrete Steps for a Successful Cloud Migration,” so you can reap the full benefits and cost savings. Download Now.