Less is More
Green storage is not just about energy savings, but about reducing your data centre storage footprint and minimising the environmental impact of manufacturing data centre components at the factory level
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Green storage is not just about energy savings, but about reducing your data centre storage footprint by using less storage in a more efficient manner, and minimising the environmental impact of manufacturing data centre components at the factory level.
Defining Green Storage
Green storage is defined in a number of different ways by a number of different companies, from energy savings, to a reduction in the data storage footprint through virtualisation and the implementation of cloud solutions, which reduces the amount of physical storage a company has to have.
The lack of a definite standard that can be applied to a storage product to make it ‘green’ means that companies use different definitions to define their products as green. However, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), headquartered in California, which provides, standards, and education programs for IT professionals, has developed a Green Storage Initiative and is working towards implementing standards that include a concrete definition of green storage.
SNIA currently loosely defines green storage as the advancement of energy efficiency and conservation in all networked storage technologies and the minimising of the environmental impact of data storage operations.
Global ICT provider and storage specialist Huawei defines green storage not just by the lower energy usage of physical products, but by the entire lifecycle of the product, from manufacture to recycling.
“One of the main trends of green IT now is that its products are more space efficient, they consume less electricity, generate less heat, therefore require less cooling. So you have all the operating expenditure benefits, which is really the drive that we see from the customer, vendor and manufacturer perspective. We like to see the greenness in the manufacturing and in the afterlife, the components and the reusability of the kit once it has lived its useful life,” says Andrew Childs, senior consultant at Huawei.
Huawei started in the storage game in 2007, which meant that the company could begin implementing green concepts into its products from the very beginning, without having to deal with legacy designs.
“The green initiative that is popping up now has been fundamental to the Huawei storage range since the very beginning, so we don’t see it as any more than standard and good design features, but at the same time the fact that it is green gives you economic benefits because it will naturally be more efficient, both from a manufacturing side as well as a usability side,” Childs says.
The green product lifecycle begins with reducing the amount of heavy metals used in products and reducing the number of components within a storage device that are not recyclable, to modularisation and reducing operating expenditure. Data storage product company Tandberg Data defines green storage as products that consume less energy, such as Solid State Drive storage options, which do not spin, and therefore require less energy to run and produce less heat during operation.
“For Tandberg Data, we often equate power consumption to ‘Green IT’. Typically data storage devices need to be always powered on, and in the case of disks they are always spinning and hence consuming power. Anything that can be done to reduce power consumption is by default ‘green’,” according to Andrew Martin, vice president, Asia, Japan & Middle East, Tandberg Data.
Tandberg Data is a market leader in offline storage technologies to SMBs, the company has a portfolio of tape drives, tape libraries and RDX removable hard drives, which are designed to be the greenest form of storage available today.
“Offline storage is removed from computing systems once data has been written to it. This means that for most of its useful life, offline storage technologies consume no power whatsoever. In the past offline storage such as tape and RDX removable disk was primarily used for backup. However today companies are realising that much of their data is static and rarely accessed, but still needs to be retained. For static data of this type, products such as tape libraries are without doubt the greenest form of storage available today,” he says.
Data warehousing and analytics company Teradata defines a product as green or sustainable when it provides a reduction in both electrical power and data centre floor space for the same product capability when compared to previous product versions or to alternative vendor products.
“These two factors have the largest impact on the environment. In fact, power required for a system has a double impact since almost the same amount of energy is consumed to cool the system as is needed to run the system. Data centre floor space is not only the most expensive real estate on the planet, but heavily impacts the environment through its infrastructure of floor tile, cooling equipment, electrical and data cabling, fire systems, etc,” said Jim Deitz, product marketing director, Teradata.
Virtualisation is green
US-based company Actifio, which produces a Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platform optimised for managing copies of production data, says the easiest way to achieve green storage is to virtualise and eliminate all extra copies of data generated by duplicating the production data for storage and protection purposes, such as backup, disaster recovery, business continuity, testing and development.