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Gartner: Moving to a greener storage environment

Gartner: Moving to a greener storage environment

Doing more with less is a goal more frequently associated with saving money than saving the environment; however, in the case of storage, the two can go hand in hand. Most of the technologies that storage vendors are marketing as green today are really technologies that improve storage utilisation rates and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).

Key Findings

  • Electricity use by storage devices in US datacentres grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent between 2000 and 2006, yet still represented only 5 per cent of total datacentre electricity use in 2006.
  • Storage will come under more scrutiny as the more obvious energy consumption issues associated with servers are addressed.
  • Implementing technologies that improve storage utilisation rates is an ideal way to start addressing the issue in storage because they reduce capacity requirements and can positively impact capital expenditures (capex) and operating expenditures (opex). The fact that these technologies also cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions is “icing on the cake”.

Recommendations

  • Understand storage power and cooling ramifications by reviewing datacentre thermal assessments and breaking down the energy costs in the corporate facilities budget.
  • Make use of technologies available in existing storage products that are cost-saving and green. Storage utilisation-enhancing technologies provide immediate resource savings and may delay future purchase requirements.
  • Monitor vendor roadmaps for green storage functionality.
  • Develop a three- to five-year plan for incorporating storage utilisation-enhancing technologies into the datacentre.
  • Evaluate storage technologies that directly reduce power and cooling costs, or are inherently green, and adopt as appropriate for an organisation’s needs.

Helpful hints

Alphawest general manager technology solutions, Ian Smith, provided the following tips to help channel partners that are looking to assist clients with their storage concerns.

  • As a starting point, develop a clear picture of what is happening now. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you don’t have insight into how the infrastructure is performing, you could be running blind.
  • Determine the organisational requirements and business drivers and find out how storage can align to this by having a storage health check and audit assessment.
  • Determine the best strategy to employ the most effective technical solution to meet your client’s business needs.
  • Find technologies that will simplify the infrastructure, reduce the total cost of ownership and increase the storage asset utilisation.
  • Implement a virtualisation strategy across your client’s infrastructure that will help increase asset utilisation to enable them to be more agile and flexible to meet their business’ and customers’ needs.
  • Real storage infrastructure investment goes well beyond the capital and maintenance costs of the hardware itself. Power consumption, physical footprint, data growth and cooling all contribute significantly to the hidden costs that impact the bottom line. There is also the added bonus of improving an organisation’s environmental impact by reducing its carbon footprint.
  • Ensure that storage forms one of the core building blocks of a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy; check that it’s aligned to the business strategy and test it regularly.
  • Finally, start investigating and consolidating infrastructure networks into a datacentre unified fabric.

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