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IDC report calls for well rounded storage strategies to address increasing power and cooling costs

by Hu Yoshida on Jul 6, 2008

IDC published a new report “The real costs to Power and Cool All the Worlds External Storage”.  Here are some of the excerpts from this report as reported in their press release of 17 June 2008

“With an aggregate worldwide electricity cost of $0.07 per kilowatt-hour last year, IDC estimates that the total amount spent on powering and cooling these drives exceeded $1 billion in 2007.”

“As companies continue to add storage capacity at an aggregate rate of over 50% per year, the number of spinning disks continues to be a larger part of the overall power and cooling costs within a datacenter,” said David Reinsel, group vice president for IDC Storage and Semiconductors research. “Vendors must do more to promote and enable well-rounded green storage strategies that include datacenter redesign, data consolidation, and data reduction.”

Here are some of the things that Hitachi is doing to enable a well rounded green storage strategy.

Data Consolidation
Hitachi is enabling data consolidation, in a well rounded way, to tiers of storage. Recognizing that disk drives consume roughly the same amount of power and cooling whether they contain 75GB or 1000GB, Hitachi provides the ability to combine different capacity/performance disks to be utilized in a common pool of tiered storage, with non disruptive movement or copy of data across tiers of storage based on performance requirements. High Speed FC disks are usually considered tier 1, and slower speed SATA disks are considered to be tier 2 or 3 storage depending on their capacity. Instead of 10 high performance FC disk, the pool of disks could be reduced to 2 FC disks and 4 SATA disk for the same total capacity and equivalent performance with 40% less power and cooling. Both the Hitachi Enterprise USP V/M and the modular AMS storage can provide non disruptive move and copy of data across tiers of internal storage. The USP V/VM can also move or copy data non disruptively to external storage from different vendors.

Storage utilization
Besides consolidation of data, storage can be more effectively utilized, especially on open systems where the over allocation of storage is prevalent. The primary volume may be more than 100% over allocated to prevent out of capacity conditions, and every copy of that volume replicates that over allocation for backup cycles, data mining, development test, data extraction, business continuance, etc. The best way to address this over allocation is through Dynamic Provisioning. Hitachi’s Dynamic Provisioning not only provides thin provisioning to greatly reduce the over allocation of the primary volume but also in all the replicated copies as well. By wide striping the volumes across all the disks in the provisioning pool, Dynamic Provisioning also enhances I/O performance through   the parallel performance of all these disks working together. When Dynamic Provisioning is combined with the virtualization of the USP V/VM, it can extend the benefits of thin provisioning and wide striping to externally attached storage without the need to upgrade or replace the external storage.

Data Reduction
Data reduction involves the elimination of redundant copies of volumes, files, and bit strings.  This involves de-duplication, copy on write, single instance store, compression, and elimination of intermediate volumes for business continuance. This also involves software management tools to discover volumes and files that are orphaned or in active. See Hitachi Data Systems web page for software management tools for de-duplication, data discover and capacity reporting.

Reduce the working Set
This is a category that has to do with data that is over 60 days old and is clogging up your production systems, or your working set of data, and is being backed up and replicated and managed on a daily basis. Sol Squire of Data Islandia calls this type of data “Toxic Waste” since it sits on your production systems taking up power and cooling without providing any production value. Hitachi’s solution for this is HCAP, the Hitachi Content Archive Platform.  With this solution you can archive a “gold copy” of an object and store it in a compliant active archive, where it can be managed and protected and technology refreshed through policies. This platform works with many of the major data base, email, file, and document management archive systems, providing a common search capability and scalability to 32 billion objects and 20 PB of capacity. For an Enterprise Strategy Group report on this product please click here.

Data Center Redesign
Hitachi ltd our parent company has set a goal to reduce power in the data center 50% in 5 years starting in 2007. The benchmark for this program which we call “Cool Center 50”, are the two main data centers in Yokohama and Okayama. The Yokohama data center is targeted to reach a Power Usage Efficiency rating of 1.6 by late summer next year, which is expected to be the lowest for a tier IV data center. While Hitachi ltd has an arsenal of technologies to address this with power and cooling systems, virtualization servers, and communications equipment, a significant part of the saving will come from the green storage strategies mentioned above.

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Comments (1)

Jonathan Eunice on 08 Jul 2008 at 12:29 pm

This all sounds very reasonable and appropriate. But I wonder, given the torrid pace at which data stores are growing, combined with the rapidly rising cost of energy to power those data stores, whether it will be “enough.”

I wonder whether even more aggressive strategies will be required. For example, deduplication and compression of primary data, different technology/tier alternatives (like moving primary data from fast/FC disk to slow/SATA disk fronted by massive RAM caches), and eager use of nonvolatile stores (Flash, eg, or even our old friend, offline tape). At $150 or $200 per barrel of oil, how aggressive will we need to be?

Your thoughts?

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