Monday, October 25, 2010

Focus on cost-efficient storage to result in lower power and cooling costs in near term

FRAMINGHAM, USA: In a follow up to the industry's only in-depth analysis of the costs to power and cool enterprise storage worldwide, International Data Corp. (IDC) has found that these costs are likely to level off in the 2013-2014 timeframe.

The temporary plateau in storage power and cooling costs will be brought about by several key trends: the migration to smaller (2.5in.), more energy efficient enterprise-class hard disk drives (HDDs); greater utilization of existing storage capacity; and the continued adoption of solid state drives (SSDs) and various other storage efficiency technologies (e.g., data deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning).

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

"While the direction of these efforts is good, and the inflection point toward lower costs is notable, it's not likely the trend will be sustainable. Once the migration to cost-efficient hardware and strategies is complete, the steady expansion in capacity will result in renewed growth in energy costs."

Enterprise storage remained a key area of investment for CIOs and IT managers throughout the economic downturn, driven by the continuous pressure to store more and more data. Annual capacity shipments within enterprise storage (external) increased 38 percent year-over-year in 2009, while shipments of HDDs into external enterprise storage increased by 10 percent year over year.

However, interest in storage efficiency technologies grew throughout the period as IT budgets turned flat or declined. While storage efficiency technologies can bring about one-time efficiency gains and savings within the datacenter, migrating to components that consume less power, and hence generate less heat, offers important energy savings over the long term.

In addition to smaller form factor HDDs and low-power SSDs, another important part of the storage efficiency strategies has been the shift toward slower-spinning SATA drives, which have a 2x storage capacity advantage over traditional high performance enterprise drives. 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.

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