by Zsolt Kerekes,
There's a lot of nonsense in the media about so called "Green
Storage". This article blows away the
and clears the air for a better view of forward looking genuinely green data
One of the fastest growing segments in the storage market
recently seems to be the Green Storage press release.
I'm getting a
lot more of these than I used to.
story runs something like this:-
exciting news! - GreenDiskCo
today launched a new
RAID system /
tape library /
Green Storage Software
Manager which uses 50% less electrical power.
- more -
goes on to quote an astonishing
market research report
from some tame lackey soothsayer which reveals that "electricity is a big
percentage part of the cost of running a datacenter!"
just in case you had the misconception that all those fans you hear whirring
around have clockwork innards which are wound up every night by the datacenter
minions. And just in case you've also ducked years of bombardment from
Sun's marketing rays about
Strange but true...
Datacenters use a lot of electricity.
And a lot of what's sitting in those racks is actually storage. Bet you didn't
know that either.
Luckily the ecologically sensitive marketers at
GreenDiskCo are altruistically minded and don't want you to worry too much about
how to fix this new problem. They have a solution which links back (surprise,
surprise) to the first part of their press release.
- more -
press release concludes on the optimistic note that you can save tens of
thousands of dollars (that's worth a dolphin) - maybe even millions of dollars
(that's worth a whole whale) and if you're the type of big government user who
never disconnects old systems which you've stopped using because you don't know
which racks they are in you win the star prize - a cuddly family of polar
bears clinging onto their dwindling ice cube.
Here's the link to the order form. Click and fill in your PO number to save the
planet. Alleluja. Now you can go back to doing the boring everyday stuff.
get these kinds of stories from
PRs every day.
Sometimes every hour (it seems like).
If you're a regular reader of the
mouse site - you may be thinking -
I don't remember seeing them. And you'd be right - because I don't publish
stories which are untrue, deliberately misleading or complete nonsense - unless
the point of doing so is to tag on an "editor's
The disappointing thing is you aren't going to make
any savings at all (compared to buying new stuff from their main competitor -
GrayDiskCo) because when you look in detail at where the alleged electrical
power savings will be coming from - you notice that it's simply from using the
latest generation of disk or tape - and they all use the same stuff inside their
Unfortunately this muddies the waters for the genuine purveyors of
storage technologies which really can make a difference. Here's my list of "green"
You may be surprised I put storage reliability at the top. There's a lot of work
to do in this area - but I want you to think about how different storage
environments would be if disk drives, for example, never failed.
wouldn't need RAID for
local data protection. That would cut through the disk array population like
a dose of bird flu - taking out 20
to 50% of all disks. Another benefit of reliable disks is you wouldn't need to
keep changing the installed storage population as often as you do now. That
would halve the amount of disk storage you buy in a 10 year period - to just the
amount you need for new capacity - and not to manage attrition due to disk
failues and increasing errors. Halving the number of disk drives manufactured in
the world - by making them last longer - is green.
- if done in real-time at wire speed - can recycle maybe 40% of capacity.
- reduction of data footprint depends on what's in the archive - but double
digit percentage is realistic.
solid state drives -
I'm not talking here just about the lower power consumption of
compared to hard drives
in notebook or blade server applications - but I'm also including the massively
high power consumption RAM
SSDs. The last one looks strange at first - but the effect of SSD
acceleration if used appropriately - is to speed up application performance -
which means lower power processors, or less processors, and possibly even a
halving of the total number of servers in the enterprise.
many more tweaky little green storage technologies I could have mentioned - but
they are mostly evolutionary trends. It's the revolutionary stuff which you
haven't already been doing which will make the difference.
good news? - Is that the green storage trend will make your applications run
faster - and save you money too. So the true cost - is the effort spent thinking
about it (which you have already started) and the time spent making plans to
evalauate these technologies.
|Footnote:- there are other
types of so called "green" computing I could have mentioned above
instead of the GreenDiskCo example.|
For example:- datacenters which
offset their CO2 contributions by paying
offsets, planting trees or using wind power.
In my view carbon
offsets are on the same morality plane as paying poor starving people in Africa
to diet instead of you. Instead of shifting the burden of the datacenter
footprint elsewhere - or fudging the issue - the sustainable answer is to do
more with less.
There are some great market opportunities here for
genuinely green products.
Founder Publishes Book - Green and Virtual Data Center|
|Stillwater, Minn.- January 27, 2009
- "The Green and Virtual Data Center" - is a new book (376 pages,
MSRP $79.95) by noted author and StorageIO founder Greg Schulz.
The book sets aside the political aspects of what is or is not
to examine the opportunities for organizations trying to grow their business
while being environmentally friendly in an economically efficient manner.
Addressing multiple technology domains and disciplines, it looks at design and
implementation tradeoffs using various best practices and technologies to
sustain application and business growth while maximizing resources, such as
power, cooling, floor space, storage, server performance, and network capacity.
|Adaptec's New Spin on Idle
Wastrel Disk Array Power |
Calif. - September 3, 2008 - to significantly increase the energy efficiency
of disk-based storage, Adaptec Inc. today kicked off its green power
Adaptec Intelligent Power Management is a new
capability that allows users to easily custom-configure storage systems to
reduce power consumption by up to 70% without sacrificing performance.
It's integrated into all of Adaptec's Series 2
and 5 RAID controllers and is compatible with 122 disk drives across 5
leading vendors. It's ideal for applications with large blocks of idle time,
such as disk-to-disk backup,
e-mail archiving and file and print servers. It allows drives to be operated in
3 power states:
1) - Normal operation - full power, full RPM
- Standby - low-power mode that spins disks at lower RPM during idle periods;
3) - Power-off - disks not spinning.
blackout periods can be set in which power management features are disabled,
such as during peak IT activity periods.
IT managers can configure banks of disk drives to operate in
different power states at varying times, and automate the drives to spin up and
down according to drive usage patterns. When drives are accessed during
pre-configured spin-down to Standby or Power-off modes, Intelligent Power
Management quickly and automatically powers these drives back up, as needed, so
performance is not impacted.
||Also, the Adaptec RAID
controller automatically monitors drives that have been powered down for an
extended period of time to ensure systems are still fully operational, allowing
Intelligent Power Management to help reduce drive failures and increase drive
|Green is the Color of My
|Editor:- June 25, 2008 - I just noticed
Nexsan's "Green Storage Blog" today.|
early evangelist of
disk to disk backup and I
wondered what had become of them (because everybody's doing it now - just as
everyone will soon be selling
brought back memories - because I couldn't remember what "AutoMAID"
stood for. (And I can't be bothered to look it up in my
either.) But the concept sounded quite familiar.
Nexsan's Gary Watson
says "It's the idea that when a drive is not in use, it is gradually spun
down (the heads are unloaded first which reduces air resistance in the HDA, then
after a further period of inactivity the drives are reduced to half their
nominal RPM, and then if it remains idle we put it to sleep). AutoMAID takes
advantage of the fact that typical Fibre Channel command timeouts are in the
realm of 60 to 120 seconds, which is plenty of time to pop the drives back into
full speed mode if an I/O request comes down the wire."
To me this
shows that it's easy for marketers to create buzzwords which obscure meaning
rather than help it. I've listed RAID's many other aliases in an article on the
RAID page if you want to
collect the full set of RAIN, RAIGE raggerty verbiage.
||In case you're wondering
about my headline I should explain. I'm color blind. So my AutoMAID's hair
could be green - just as her eyes are red - and mine is turning a paler shade
of gray. And when I saw Procol Harem
live in the mid 1970s they only had 2 good songs in the whole set - and no,
like you - I can't remember the other one.|