September 22, 2008, 12:22 PM — When we think of consolidation in terms of Green IT, our first thought is of consolidating servers. This is, to be sure, the star of Green IT. However thereâ€™s a supporting actor who has it in him to steal virtualizationâ€™s scenes. Weâ€™re talking about storage area networks (SANs).
The best implementation of a SAN â€“ and the best with green outcomes â€“ uses automated tiered storage. In this model, different types of data is stored on different types of hard drives. The most important and frequently accessed data is stored on faster spinning drives while older or less frequently accessed data is stored on slower drives.
How many tiers will your organization need? Unfortunately â€“ like everything else datacenter related â€“ it depends on the needs of your organization. You might need just two tiers, or you could need three or four, depending on your data needs.
This is where automated tiered storage can help. First, by automatically moving infrequently accessed data to energy-efficient, higher capacity SATA drives, your organization will reduce the number of power-hungry drives and reduce the cost of powering your system. And, as weâ€™ve said before, less heat is generated, thus reducing the amount of cooling that is necessary. As a result, fewer CO2 emissions are produced.
For example, over 5 years, an enterprise-class 15,000 rpm 146GB drive with a RAID 10 configuration might produce 32 tons of CO2 emissions. This includes the power to cool the datacenter as well as humidification, UPS support, power distribution, and so on. Over that same time span, a 7200 rpm 1TB drive with a RAID 5 configuration would produce a bit more than 2 tons of CO2. Again, this is just the case for one drive. If your organization replaces hundreds or thousands of similar drives, you can see the level of impact realized.
Automated tiered storage is an excellent way to phase green into your organization. By using larger drives, you also have the opportunity to consolidate your data from several spindles onto one. For example, you can reduce the amount of space your drives consume by 92 percent. This makes it easier to cool your datacenter, and you have the room for future expansion.
We cover this topic and many more in the book Green IT: Reduce Your Information System's Environmental Impact While Adding to the Bottom Line which is available in select bookstores stores and at your favorite online book retailers. Better yet, ITworld is giving away 5 free copies in September. Click on the the following link to learn more and enter.