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Adaptec Goes Green With 'Spin Down' Controllers

Adaptec launched a "Green Power" initiative today by adding the ability to spin down hard disk drives to conserve power to its Series 5 and Series 2 RAID controllers. The company says its Intelligent Power Management capability can cut storage power consumption by as much as 70 percent without degrading application performance.

The vendor describes its power management system, which is being added to the controllers at no extra charge, as compatible with 122 disk drives from five storage vendors. Adaptec says it has been shown to cut power use on a Seagate Barracuda ES SATA drive by as much as 70 percent and reduce power usage on a Hitachi Ultrastar SAS drive by up to 73 percent.

The spin-down feature is especially effective for applications that experience large blocks of idle time, including email archiving, disk-to-disk backup, virtual tape libraries, file transfer services, and file and print servers, says Suresh Panikar, director of worldwide marketing at Adaptec.

"Some applications spend up to 75 percent to 90 percent of their time idle, where there is no activity," he says. "It presents an opportunity to reduce power and cooling costs."

The challenge, Panikar told Byte and Switch, was to develop technology that took into account the demands of operating systems and applications. "Operating systems and databases are writing to storage all the time and you have to take that into consideration. They don't stop sending information," he says. "So we had to use cache with battery backup so the OS didn't know we had spun down the disks. When the cache is full, we bring a disk back up to speed, write data from cache, and then spin it back down."

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