Better storage tech could trim energy, cooling costs, IDC says

The economic downturn changed attitudes toward data storage products

The migration to smaller drives and the use of solid-state drives (SSD) are among several key technologies that will lead to much lower data center power and cooling costs over the next several years, IDC said in a report today.

According to IDC , more efficient storage technologies should allow power and cooling costs in data centers to level off by 2014.

"There is no doubt that the economic straits of 2008 and 2009 modified the attitudes and behaviors of IT managers and system [manufacturers], greatly accelerating interest in and the adoption of more cost-efficient storage strategies," said David Reinsel, group vice president for Storage Systems at IDC.

Reinsel said the power and cooling plateau is not likely a sustainable the trend, and that ever-growing capacity requirements will result in "renewed growth in energy costs."

But for now, the migration to smaller 2.5-in hard disk drives (replacing 3.5-in drives), the continued adoption of SSDs and the uptake in technologies that make more efficient use of existing capacity, such as data deduplication, compression and thin provisioning, will reduce overall energy costs, IDC said.

According to IDC's report, enterprise data storage systems remained a key area of investment for CIOs and IT managers throughout the economic downturn, driven by continuous pressure to store more data. External storage system shipments increased 38 per cent from 2008 to 2009. At the same time, hard disk drive shipments for external storage systems increased 10 per cent.

At the same time IT managers were buying more storage, interest in storage efficiency technologies grew because IT budgets turned flat or declined, IDC said. While technologies such as data deduplication and thin provisioning are most effective when first deployed, migrating to components that consume less power, and generate less heat, offers important energy savings over the long term.

Key among lower-power consuming technologies has been serial ATA (SATA) drives, which typically spin at 5,400rpm or 7,200rpm, but have twice the data storage capacity as their high-performance counterparts. SATA drives have been growing in popularity in tiered data storage architectures, where mission-critical data is stored on SSDs, Fibre Channel drives or serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives -- and less critical data is then migrated to SATA for near-line storage.

"Combined, these technologies will play a critical part in slowing the growth in enterprise storage power and cooling costs, and the associated carbon footprint, over the next several years," IDC said.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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