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Data Storage Can Become Green

Part eight in a series. Greg Schulz is the founder of StorageIO and the author of The Green and Virtual Data Center.

External data storage, after cooling for all IT equipment and server energy usage, has the next largest impact on power, cooling, floor space, and environmental (PCFE) considerations in most data centers. In addition to being one of the large users of electrical power and floor space, with corresponding environmental impact, the amount of data being stored and the size of the data footprint continue to expand. Likewise, to say that there is no such thing as a data recession, other than from a pricing or revenue pressure perspective, would be an understatement.

As has been reported and discussed on the Byte and Switch message board and in other venues, storage spending may be down year-over-year in conjunction with economic and other budget pressures. However, storage capacity and I/O performance demands continue to grow, resulting in an expanding data footprint impact. Though more data can be stored in the same or smaller physical footprint than in the past, thus requiring less power and cooling, data growth rates necessary to sustain business growth, enhanced IT service delivery, and new applications are placing continued demands on available PCFE resources.

There are many approaches to addressing PCFE issues associated with storage, from using faster, more energy efficient storage that performs more work with less energy, to powering down storage that is supporting inactive data, such as backup or archive data, when it is not in use. While adaptive and intelligent power management techniques are increasingly being found in servers and workstations, power management for storage has lagged behind.

General steps to doing more with your storage-related resources without impeding application service availability, capacity, or performance include:

  • Assess and gain insight as to what you have and how it is being used.
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