Make your storage greener

Article by Nitin Mishra



Wake up to green data storage! As going green with IT is grabbing the industry’s attention at large, it is time to evaluate your organization’s storage energy demands and see if you can take steps to go green here. This will help you save significantly on energy costs and reduce consumption of energy helping you in your eco-friendly objectives.

Datacenters have been the center of attention in the recent years, and outsourcing data storage is a concept that is appealing to small and medium-size organizations as well. This is because data backup and storage has assumed a lot of importance in organizations today. The biggest concerns environmentalists have are the power that is consumed by data centers, and the energy required for the cooling systems built in. Not only is this damaging, but also very cost-intensive for the datacenters, so to go green is a unanimous choice for the datacenters, its customers as well as environmentalists.

The primary function of a datacenter is data processing achieved through servers, storage and networking. But what about the energy used up due to storage? Energy consumption depends on the purpose the datacenter is being used for, the applications stored, and the storage design decisions. An EPA report on Server and Datacenter Energy Efficiency suggests that storage devices will account for about 15% of the total IT equipment energy use, while a whopping 75% is by servers, and the remaining 10% by the network equipment. However, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) says that this is fast changing, and the energy used by storage is increasing due to consolidation and virtualization.

While evaluating green storage technologies, internet datacenters must ensure that not only must it help in reducing the raw capacity to store and use the same data set, but also improve the following:

  1. Disk utilization
  2. The speed of disks
  3. Operational envelope
  4. Use of appropriate RAID levels

Datacenters also need to understand the storage scenario they face: full-load, idle situations, storage specific power and cooling systems etc. Several organizations such as the SNIA, Green Grid etc. are helping datacenters with more information on how their datacenter storage works and how one can put into place effective metric systems to measure the power used by the storage systems. These initiatives will help you understand your storage performance, and take steps towards making it green.