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Copan Pushes Power Savings

Storage vendors are cranking up their environmental activity, with a number of firms rushing to join the Green Grid initiative, and Copan readying a partnership with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). (See ColdWatt Joins Green Grid, 365 Main Joins Green Grid, Copan Joins Green Grid, and Green With Envy.)

Copan's deal, which will be announced on Monday, offers financial incentives to PG&E customers that buy MAID storage gear from Copan. The storage vendor claims that MAID offers higher density and lower power consumption than Fibre Channel. (See Copan Validates MAID, Copan Signs DDS, and US Navy.)

To review: The idea behind MAID, which stands for Massive Array of Idle Disks, is that the SATA drives used within the system can be powered up and down to save energy. (See Summer Storage Survival, Will New Head MAID Clean House?, and Copan Gets New MAID.) "Disks power up only when the request for the storage comes in," explains Copan CTO Aloke Guha.

PG&E uses an "energy calculator," which is based on an installation of Copan gear at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, to work out the cost savings. This is essentially an equation for working out the comparative power costs for MAID as opposed to, say, SATA storage, for a given customer's application. This takes into account factors such as direct energy and air conditioning costs.

One joint Copan/PG&E customer, a social networking Website, is about to receive a $12,000 check from PG&E after buying a 448-Tbyte MAID system from Copan. "We call this an incentive program and not a rebate program because the customer needs to apply before they purchase the equipment," says Mark Bramfitt, principal manager for PG&E's high tech business.

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