Feature

EMC cuts power with new Centera

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EMC claims 3,500 customers currently use the Centera system, a drop in the ocean compared to the hundreds of thousands of customers who have deployed its Clariion and Symmetrix products. So will there be "low-power" versions of those systems?

"It's not on the roadmap as 'low power' per se," said Dick Sullivan, Symmetrix marketing manager at EMC, at a recent industry event on data center power consumption in Cambridge, MA. "But we're infusing this message across the board into all product engineering." Speakers at the event from Advanced Micro Devices, Hewlett-Packard and EMC said they had little patience for customers who complain they're out of power when the equipment turns up on the dock.

"Systems can sit there for years drawing power when the original application they were running has been migrated somewhere else," says John Tuccillo, marketing director at power and cooling equipment supplier American Power Conversion (APC), West Kingston, RI.

Rick Villars, VP, storage systems at IDC in Framingham, MA, who also attended the event, disagrees. "We're blaming the victim here," he says. "Where was the systems engineer from EMC when this customer was deciding if they could support a new DMX in their data center?" Vendors should help users plan for power consumption, which might mean not selling more gear, adds Villars.

While power consumption is a pressing issue, you must put it into perspective. Media General's Holt says the bigger storage problem

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is that these systems are still too complex and expensive to design, configure, install and manage. Power consumption, he adds, is just another cost to manage. "It seems like hype a lot of the time, postapocalyptic, like we expect to see Mel Gibson wheeling through the desert stealing fuel for his Mad Max Fibre Array," says Holt.

This was first published in September 2007

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