The Great Green Collision

By Simon Pamplin, SE Manger UK & Ireland, Brocade

Among all the challenges CIOs and IT administrators currently face, two historical trends are on a collision course. Firstly, the growth in data processing is generating ever-increasing demand for servers, storage arrays and the infrastructure needed to support those devices. According to IDC projections, the projected total volume of corporate data worldwide for 2010 is nearly a zetabyte (one billion terabytes). This sets off a spiralling circle of events in the data centre: the growth in data means that more hardware is required; more hardware in turn leads to larger data centres; these larger data centres require more power and an upsurge in the cooling needed to sustain continuous operations.

But this chain of events cannot continue unchecked. The limited availability and increasing cost of energy worldwide is undermining the energy utilities’ ability to supply reliable power. Several factors are contributing to this trend and pointing to an impending conflict between projected supply and demand. Because all modern enterprises depend on information technology, IT organizations must be able to align energy consumption with energy availability and simultaneously accommodate data growth as part of a viable IT strategy. Using today’s technology, organizations can build sophisticated data centres in a cost-effective manner. By selecting products that use energy efficiently, CIO’s can not only help their businesses by reducing costs and running their IT infrastructure efficiently but also contribute to the global reduction in energy usage.

In terms of business benefit, being able to reduce the running costs of storage is a no-brainer. The cost obviously depends on a host of factors, from how many copies you take of the data, to how it is backed up and onto what medium, how long you need to retain it, how efficient the devices are etc., but probably the most relevant figure is the cost of electricity to run it all. Recent research by the European Commission shows that UK industries spend an average of 10.78€ per 100Kwh of electricity used. By selecting the most efficient storage components, savings of thousands of Euros per device per year can be made when compared to less efficient products.

The same business benefits are found to be applying a green storage policy. The more efficient you are the fewer resources you consume; resources cost money and they also contribute to the global issue of resource usage. The less power needed to run a device the less heat it will generate; the less heat it generates the less cooling is required; and reduced cooling requires less power. Typically the reduced power consumption comes from reducing the number of components in the device, allowing for higher density per sq/foot. This in turn means more available space in the data centre and less need for expansion, which is another way to lower company overheads.

Going green means that organizations must re-examine all aspects of their IT operations including facilities, people, and infrastructure—so they can proactively implement best-practice strategies and identify areas where they can achieve greater power efficiencies.

As the historical trends of data growth collides with the availability, or lack, of power and space for data centres, the IT industry needs to wake up to the fact that a green solution is the only solution for the future.

Brocade is exhibiting at Storage Expo 2008 the UK’s definitive event for data storage, information and content management. Now in its 8th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme and over 100 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 15 - 16 October 2008

Source: StoreagePR