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Power Problems Plague Users

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage managers are ordering more hardware and software than ever before, but as data protection needs ramp, so do the requirements for environmental support. And electrical power tops the list.

"Power consumption is an issue. You've got to strike a balance between power and density," says Gabriel Sandu, director of technical services for Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. As storage systems pack more disk arrays in smaller form factors, their power requirements may actually go up.

"If people are not concerned about power consumption now, they should be or will be soon," says analyst Greg Schulz of the StorageIO consultancy. "You can concentrate power and footprint loading without reducing power requirements."

That consolidation of equipment doesn't equate to lower power consumption was a hallmark lesson learned by early adopters of blade servers, who struggled to keep cooling and power on par with rackmount servers. (See NewEnergy Chops Its Blades, Study Highlights Blade Disappointment, and Are Blades Cutting It?)

How can users best cope? Aside from common-sense tactics like shutting off lights, grouping equipment for optimal cooling, and so forth, Schulz suggests keeping an eye on the results of consolidation. Part of this might include checking out how projects figure in "per square foot" calculations. Installing blade servers and rackmounted storage should result in improved terabytes per square foot, weight per square foot, even IOPS per square foot. If too much density results, though, there can be environmental and performance problems that detract from the equation.

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