Oct 30, 2008 (02:10 PM EDT)
Windows 7 Revealed: 24 Screen Shots Of Microsoft's Next OS

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InformationWeek Daily - Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008


Editor's Note

Green Storage Is More Than Just Green Drives

Most, if not all, the hard drive manufacturers have come out with green drives; drives that spin down or turn off. There are two problems with counting on green drives to reduce your power consumption; first, they are only one component in the storage solution, and second, there has to be intelligence for them to be used optimally.

The classic "let's jump on the marketing hype" manufacturer response to greening storage is to simply certify these green drives and put them in their existing shelves. The problem is the existing shelves still consume the same amount of power, as does the rest of the storage system. Clearly, spinning down or turning off drives will reduce some of the power consumption of the storage platform, but the shelves that these drives will go into can be responsible for half of the power consumption and cooling on a per-shelf basis.

Storage solutions that are advocating themselves as green need to have the intelligence to power down the shelf itself or at least not require as much power on a per-shelf basis.

Even if the shelf power management issues can be resolved, a green storage system must have more intelligence for data placement than does a traditional storage solution. Drive power savings counts on the drives not being accessed long enough for them to go into an idle or power-down mode. They have to continue to not be accessed long enough to make sure you get the proposed power savings out of them.

Intelligent placement is the key and I'm not sure how the "place green drives in our shelf" crowd plans on making this happen. Their basic guideline is to have the user manage the placement of that data to different shelves for array groups as needed. Really? Last time I checked, storage administrators had more than enough to worry about without adding the "OK, what data should I put where and when is the next time it makes sense to do that."

Read more about my thoughts on green storage, including tips on what to look for from vendors, here.

George Crump
georgeacrump@mac.com
www.informationweek.com

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