Around the Storage Block Blog
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Green Storage Initiative podcast from SNW

While SNW in Dallas has come to a close - and I've made my way back home to Boise - I still have a podcast or two to share with you.  Today I have a podcast with Leah Schoeb.  Leah recently started working at The Evaluator Group as a senior analyst after focusing on performance at VMware.  Leah leads the Green Storage Initative at SNIA and she talked to me about what is happening with GSI as well as a program they started called Emerald


I spent a few hours one morning in the Omni Hotel's coffee bar and recorded a couple of podcasts, including this one with Leah so if you hear the hiss of the espresso machine in the background, grab yourself a latte and join us.  Here's the podcast with Leah.


Green Storage – the view from Vienna

By David Garrels 

Ok, this entry won't have very much to do with Green Storage.  But I had the opportunity to attend the SIBOS tradeshow in Vienna a ~week ago and thought I'd share some observations about the show and about "green" in general (SIBOS is a Banking show focused on Payment system & tools and HP was there talking about our products & services in that space).

First the show: it was good to be at a very industry-specific event that drilled down on the real pain points of that industry.  A lot different than a technology show where it's all about feeds, speeds, and features.  We had great conversations with customers about how we can help them with the storage infrastructure supporing their payments systems.  The interesting thing, however, was the timing - it was the first of the announcements we've seen in the last week about the banking/credit "crisis" and there were lots of distractions for the conference attendees.  Certainly that was the talk of the week and we heard that many of the attendees ended up leaving early.

A few thoughts on Green:  At the end of the day, I'm disappointed that not much has changed to make travel & conferences more Green.  The airline I was on didn't separate items (plastic cups, etc) to recycle.  The convention center had minimal recycling opportunities.  Vendors and publications still print lots of handouts (HP had only a few copies of a 4-page brochure, the rest was all available online or via cd).  Still too many cars, taxis, and buses driving around (although great subway/trains in Vienna that make it easy to get around).  The hotel did the standard "we won't wash your towels every night", but not much beyond that - no recycling bin in the room for water bottles, etc.  I'm sure there are conventions that do more, but I think in general we have a long way to go.

Green Storage #5 – Drive type and speed choices affect your power requirements

- by David Garrels

We're working on updating our power calculator tools so that when you're considering HP disk arrays, you can identify the power trade-offs of selecting different drive types.  Of course, which drive type you choose depends on a lot of different factors - access time requirements, file/block size needs, etc. and your solution architect or channel partner can help you through that.  But power draw is something you should also consider. 

In general, slower spinning drives use less power.  For example**, a 400GB 10K RPM drive pulls ~8 watts while spinning idle.  A 450GB 15K RPM drive pulls ~12 watts.  That's a significant difference that gets multiplied over the number of drives in the cabinet.  An EVA4400 fully loaded with the 10K drive uses ~770 watts for drive power while the same EVA full of 15K drives will use ~1100 watts.

Again, you need to build the system that will support your application and enable your business goals.  As part of that, you may want to consider the power requirements of the drives you select.

We'd be interested in your feedback - is power draw something you think about when configuring your systems?   

**Note: all power measures are estimates and reference drive power only.  Controllers, fans, etc also consume power and need to be calculated in the overall system requirements.  Our updated power calculators on will include this.

Labels: green storage| Power

Green Storage #4 – Your power saving strategy should include tape

- by David Garrels  

We’ve talked in this blog before about how much power spinning disks use as being the biggest driver of storage power consumption.  And we’ve discussed ways to minimize the number of spinning disks.  Now, let’s talk about how much power you can save if you get the data off of disk and on to tape.  

Everyone wants to keep every bit of information they create “in case they need it later”.    But with archive restrictions and requirements, and with the cost of electricity to keep multiple copies of data spinning on disk drives, there is a real opportunity to archive data off the primary array storage.    

There are two primary options of where to archive data: disk (Virtual Tape Libs or Disk2Disk backup) or tape.  There are trade-offs around time to recovery – it’s obviously quicker to pull data off disk.  And there is a real opportunity for power savings if you archive to tape.  In fact, the Clipper Group has compared tape and disk archiving and says tape archives have lifetime ownerships 23 times less and a near 290X energy advantage over archiving to disk.    

Of course it’s a trade-off of access time and power savings, so you need to evaluate both. But anyone looking at a power saving project, should make sure to look at tape as an important and tangible way to reduce the power needed to store data.  

The Clipper Group paper, “Disk and Tape Square Off Again – Tape Remains King of the Hill with LTO-4,” is available for download from A companion webcast, hosted by Reine and Kahn, is available for archived viewing at  Take a look at it as part of your Green Storage project.


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