Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Green Poll

Here are the results from the green poll (13 votes only :-( )

Q: Is the discussion of green storage just hype?

  • 54% - Yes it is hype, vendors are riding the bandwagon
  • 15% - No, it is an important issue and vendors are solving it
  • 15% - I'm not sure still deciding
  • 15% - No, it is an important issue and vendors are not solving it
Highly unscientific due to the poll size but I have to agree that a lot of the discussion is smoke and mirrors.

While we're on the subject I had a look at Western Digital's "green" hard drives. They are claiming with a little bit of clever code, they can reduce the power demands of their higher end SATA range. Here's a clip of the specific new features taken from their literature:

IntelliPower™ — A fine-tuned balance of spin speed, transfer rate and cache size
designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance.
IntelliSeek™ — Calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption,
noise, and vibration.
IntelliPark™ — Delivers lower power consumption by automatically unloading the
heads during idle to reduce aerodynamic drag.

The use of these techniques is claimed to reduce idle time to 4.0W and average read/write to 7.5W per drive. I've had a look at other manufacturers and this is a saving of about 4W per drive. WD make plenty of statements as to how much this represents in cost and no doubt it is a good thing that manufacturers are thinking in this way, however it does make me think we should be examining exactly what data we're storing on disk if we are happy with a just large saving in idle time. If this data is not inactive then obviously the power savings are less, but there's no free lunch here and if data is active then a drive is going to use power. SATA drives may be able to compromise on performance but I can't imagine anyone purchasing nice fast 15K drives will want to compromise in any way. (While I think of it, developing a tiered storage strategy should include evaluating the "cost" of accessing the data in power terms)

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