3PAR Pushes Power Savings

Teams up with utility vendor PG&E to offer financial rebates in a move that could be mirrored across the US

July 29, 2008

3 Min Read
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With users desperate to shave money off their spiraling energy costs, virtualization specialist 3PAR has joined forces with utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to launch a storage rebate program.

The Virtual Technology Incentive Program (V-TIP) offers financial incentives to PG&E customers that buy storage gear from 3PAR, which touts thin provisioning as a way for firms to use fewer disks.

"This is available to any 3PAR customer within the PG&E footprint," says Geoff Hough, 3PARs senior director of strategy, explaining that PG&E has developed a formula for calculating the vendor’s potential power savings. "Customers are eligible for up to 50 percent of the calculated energy savings."

The exec adds that with data centers doubling their energy consumption every five to six years, vendors are now looking for new ways to tackle this growth, particularly in power-hungry California, which is no stranger to energy crises.

"Energy costs are rising and storage [use] is on the rise," he says. "Virtualization is the foot-soldier in the fight against data center energy waste."The 3PAR deal is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of PG&E's rebates, according to Mark Bramfitt, principal program manager for the utility, who told Byte and Switch that 20 similar agreements are in place with other technology vendors.

"We have got server virtualization, high efficiency UPS, conversion to desktop thin clients and we’re ready to do DC power (rebates)," he says. "We’re working very hard on data storage stuff because the growth rate there is really high – we would like to get our arms around that."

Last year PG&E announced a rebate deal with MAID vendor Copan, and more deals are in the pipeline.

“There are a number [of storage vendors] that we’re working with to figure out how their systems are more efficient than standard systems,” says Bramfitt, but would not reveal the identities of the firms involved.

PG&E is also looking to spread its technology rebate message outside of its northern and central Californian base through the Utility IT Energy Coalition, a partnership of U.S. and Canadian utility companies.“We’re promoting it to other utilities and we hope that they will use our model and follow our lead,” says Bramfitt, explaining that PG&E spearheads the coalition. “We have a collaborative Web site and we’re about to have our second face-to-face meeting.”

3PAR, which already has a carbon offset program, is also looking to emulate the PG&E deal with other U.S. utilities, according to Hough.

“The talks are just beginning, but we have begun some conversations with folks in New York and Texas,” he says.

One user that has already received a PG&E 3PAR rebate is Jonathon Taylor, systems engineer at California State University East Bay.

"I can’t say how much it is [but] it was enough of an amount that it got the awareness of our management," he says, explaining that CSU East Bay has implemented one of 3PAR's S400 systems "The fact that they are working with PG&E shows that they are committed to the same goals as we are."Despite the financial carrot offered by PG&E, Taylor explained that this was not the main driver behind his 3PAR purchase.

"What prompted the decision to go with 3PAR was the fact that they do storage virtualization," he explains, adding that the University expects to virtualize half of its 100 servers by 2009. "That allows us to save a lot of energy."

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  • Copan Systems Inc.

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

  • 3PAR Inc.

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