DiskEnergy, green storage by Microsoft

Microsoft Research is working on a rather cool project to reduce power consumption of storage subsystems. The project is called DiskEnergy and it was brought to light by a post from ZDNet blogger Mary Joe Foley.

Not much is known about DiskEnery. The project's Web site states:

"Storage subsystems do not have power management and consume a significant amount of power in the data center. Modern enterprise grade disks require approximately 10W when idle. As storage requirements generally increase in data centers, the number of disks in data centers is increasing proportionally."

The team has said the they've developed a technique called "Write off-Loading" in which a good chunk of the time that disks are idle can be "spun down" and disks can remain in that low sleepy condition even during periods of time when the disk would normally be available for writes. The team is planning to present a paper entitled "Write Off-Loading: Practical Power Management for Enterprise Storage " at the Usenix FAST conference in February 2008.

Microsoft is determined to be seen as green. But this may be more than just an image. The company's green initiatives are significant. 

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