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Author's profile photo Laura PARRI ROYO

SAP data and documents archiving to reduce IT’s carbon footprint

Managing climate change has become one of the top priorities for business leaders who now pay attention to building environmental sustainability into every aspect of their operations. When we think about the corporate carbon footprint, we think about pollution, we focus on the use and disposal of plastics, prevention of smoke fumes, or avoiding the release of toxic effluents. These are the obvious problem areas and whilst really important, IT activities also contribute to global warming. IT is a hidden polluter, and this article will explain why SAP users should take swift action.


Some facts and figures to start with

Reports in the media during May 2023 suggest that the world will miss its climate change control targets. Research from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has found that there is a 66 per cent chance that global average temperatures will exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2027. The 2018 IPCC report said that to limit average temperature rises to 1.5°C, carbon emissions would need to be cut by 45 per cent on 2010 levels by 2030. Getting anywhere near this target requires drastic action by everyone.

By 2030, data centres are expected to consume 2,500TWh and vast quantities of water. In the US, 2700 data centres across the country already use up to 5 million gallons of water daily for their cooling operations. Google’s data centres around the world use about twice as much electricity as the city of San Francisco.  The carbon footprint of data centres is the highest it has ever been and rising exponentially – cloud storage services significantly impact the environment. Cloud service providers are aware of this, it’s one reason why AWS launched the Customer Carbon Footprint Tool (CCFT) in March 2022, allowing customers to track the carbon emissions from their use of AWS services, and project ways to make carbon savings.

Some countries like France, have already started passing laws to regulate the carbon levels from some economic activities, however data storage has escaped the bait so far. You can find more on this article:

Data storage repercussions

You may be wondering why this is relevant for SAP users. It’s very relevant. SAP solutions currently touch most of the world’s major financial systems, commerce traffic, and business network interactions – with SAP customers generating 87% of total global commerce. These are highly IT intensive industries and high producers and consumers of data.

Data uses huge amounts of energy for its creation and storage, leading to a massive environmental impact. GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from data centres are grouped into three categories:

  1. Scope 1: Refrigerants (for cooling systems), diesel (for backup electricity), and natural gas (for heating and fuel cells).
  2. Scope 2: Electricity consumption or purchase.
  3. Scope 3: Indirect GHG emissions, such as emissions from the computing equipment.

Clearly, data production and storage impacts all these categories and storing 100GB of data in the cloud every year would produce 0.2 tons of CO2. According to an Information Week survey conducted among 300+ respondents, almost 70% said data volumes were growing at a minimum rate of 10% annually, and in most cases, it was far higher. 52% reported an annual storage growth rate in their organisations between 10% to 24%; 17% reported an even higher annual storage growth rate, between 25% to 49%. This was across all ERP platforms, why would SAP users be any different? If anything, given plans to migrate to S/4 HANA, it is even more significant.

If SAP users overlook data growth, it will increase in volume exponentially while increasing the cost of hosting extra information. Left unchecked, data becomes an invisible polluter and data volumes can double every two years if left unchecked. The image below illustrates the drawbacks of not having a proactive Data Volume Management strategy.


Data Archiving Project – TJC Group.

However, SAP users can easily control this impact with data archiving, one of the most effective ways to minimise IT’s carbon footprint. You can find out more details on how data archiving contributes to sustainability in this ebook:


SAP data archiving helps reduce carbon footprints

Historically, there were two main reasons for investing in SAP data archiving, to minimise the cost of data storage and to improve the general performance of SAP systems.

Now, improving IT’s sustainability and carbon footprint have emerged as goals and quickly accelerated in importance to become as pressing an issue as the original two. In addition, SAP data archiving can achieve IT operational cost savings in the following ways:

  • Automated archiving ensures ongoing data compression and deduplication.
  • Less data stored means less energy used to store it.
  • Reducing data volumes means lower data storage costs.
  • The entire SAP landscape (electricity, servers, and so on) costs less to manage.

This, in turn, triggers four environmental savings – reducing the consumption of physical storage discs, lowering the heating and cooling costs within server rooms, decrease in maintenance charges, and reducing waste and disposal costs.


Benefits of Data Archiving in the context S/4HANA migration

Having less data stored also means the time to complete data backups or data recovery processes will be much faster. And there is another very important benefit to introducing regular data archiving – preparing the organisation for the SAP S/4HANA migration itself.

According to research conducted by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, managing the data migration process and the sheer volume of data for SAP S/4HANA migration was the biggest obstacle they needed to overcome when planning the switch from SAP ECC. So, in addition to improving the environmental footprint, SAP data archiving will make an essential contribution to the long-term transition to the SAP Cloud.


Main menu – Archiving Sessions Cockpit, SAP-Certified software by TJC Group.


Investing in SAP data archiving is just one of the ways to influence the CO2 footprint of organisations while contributing towards their sustainability targets. Our advice to SAP users planning their migrations to S/4 HANA is to make archiving part of the ongoing IT housekeeping routine.

What are your thoughts? Have you been able to measure the benefits of Data archiving in terms of CO2 savings? Please share your inputs in the comments section.

At TJC Group, we are working on a susatainble framework to calculate such savings, engaging with third party companies. Stay tuned for more updates if sustainability is a topic on your agenda!



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      Author's profile photo Roland Kramer
      Roland Kramer

      Hello Laura PARRI ROYO

      Nice Post, see also to do this properly ... 😉 - SAP ILM based on SAP IQ Database

      best regards Roland

      Author's profile photo THIERRY JULIEN

      On some scenarios, IQ is not required. May be nice for carbon footprint. That's being said, on other scenario, such as BW NLS, IQ is saving HANA memory, and this effectivement reduce carbon footprint. I like looking at carbon footprint as he may change our usages.