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Green storage means money saved on power

New green IT technologies promise energy efficient storage without sacrificing performance

By , Network World
May 21, 2007 12:03 AM ET

Network World - In a perfect world, you easily could rein in the rapidly increasing amount of power that storage systems consume just by telling users to stop stockpiling data. In the real world, you'd lose your job for suggesting that.

Luckily, you have a number of more realistic options to help reduce the energy required to power your systems. Storage isn't the biggest energy hog in the data center, but cutting back on storage's power consumption can lower the energy bill significantly and free up precious energy for other uses. In addition, saving power by using storage space more efficiently can cut down on wasted capacity, which means spending less on storage in the long run.

For some organizations, moving to energy-efficient storage isn't just a nice, green idea but an essential part of using less power, which in some circumstances has become an extremely limited resource.

Such is the case for the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). "In the last few years, SDSC has added hundreds of researchers and their data collections . . . which brought online many more servers, another petabyte of spinning storage, and a major power upgrade in 2006 and another planned for 2008," says Don Thorp, manager of operations with SDSC. Moving to energy-efficient storage "wasn't visionary insight as much as the cold shock of reality. The growth in storage is not slowing; our ability to add power is very limited."

Don Thorp, manager of operations with SDSC

To reduce the energy consumed by data storage, an enterprise must stop thinking of storage as a potentially endless resource. Then it will seek new ways to use fewer, more efficient systems, one analyst says.

"Are you putting out more storage to make up for the lack in performance?" asks Greg Schulz, founder of analysis firm StorageIO Group. "Consolidate. Instead of having two storage arrays, could I do that work with one array, but increase the performance and reduce the response time to make end users happy, plus use less power?"

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