Efficiency, Not Cost Or Carbon, Will Drive Green Storage

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Green storage options are growing, but mainly for efficiency reasons, according to a report.

Users care more about efficiencies from green storage than they do about cost savings or environmental concerns, according to a Forrester Research report.

The report, Align Green Storage With Overall Efficiency, found the mission-critical nature of storage systems has given them a free pass when it comes to improving their efficiency and environmental impact.

As a poor relation in the trend towards the ‘greening’ of the data centre through server consolidation and virtualisation, the report said storage was traditionally used inefficiently, with greater redundancy and failover capabilities to deliver high performance and availability.

Until now, poor measurement capabilities, high switching costs, and overall buyer conservatism have limited the impact of green considerations on storage purchasing decisions, said Forrester senior analyst and the report’s author, Andrew Reichman.

Other barriers include facilities’ traditional responsibility for power bills and the IT storage team’s lack of visibility of the power bill.

While the difficulty in accurately measuring the power consumption of storage systems, which consume roughly equal amounts of primary data centre power to servers, compounds the fact that the cost of powering storage is only a fraction of its acquisition cost.

“But with the current focus on spending reduction, green storage approaches that really work are likely to see higher adoption,” wrote Reichman.

Among the technologies he identified among the winners in the green storage stakes, he identified dense hard drives, such as SATA and FATA, as the greenest storage technology, with the potential to have the greatest impact on the green and financial bottom line.

The report also said thin provisioning could also help to reduce the overall footprint of usable data and dramatically increase storage utilisation, which is often low because of large, upfront allocations that often sit idle. And deduplication could also help overall efficiency by eliminating redundant copies of data.

“The same practices that support greener operations also generally support overall storage efficiency and all the associated savings,” concluded Reichman.