"If you had some set of data that requires very high performance but not a lot of data, solid-state drives may be very economical in power consumption," said Eric Schott, director of product management at Dell. "It's also about floor space consumed and heat output, because for every dollar you're spending to power the equipment, you're spending a dollar to cool the equipment."
But the environmental benefits aren't the only things on vendors' minds when pushing energy-efficient products. Economic benefits are deemed equally as important.
"The messaging is around 'Go green to save carbon footprint,'" said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at Stillwater, Minn.-based StorageIO Group and author of The Green and Virtual Data Center. "Most IT organizations don't have a carbon footprint issue. What they have are issues to sustain business growth, economic enhancement and productivity."
|Seven ways to cut disk system power|
As one of the few mechanical devices in the data center, disk arrays draw substantial power to keep disks spinning and make cooling systems work harder to dissipate the heat they throw off. Here are seven ways to cut a disk system's power requirements:
On the management side, the notion of intelligent management -- like that of Adaptec -- is something Schulz said can be expected to continue.
"We've seen many vendors adding intelligent management as a second feature, just like a RAID level," Schulz said. "You're seeing vendors bring that to the table, but in a granular approach: Use it when needed."
Adaptec's software allows drives to be operated in three power states, including normal operation with full power and full RPMs; standby, with low power that spins at a lower RPM during idle times; and power-off.
Dell's Schott said intelligent management can bring forth several benefits that otherwise aren't there. "It's very important for a storage array to be energy efficient," he said. "But it's also helpful if the applications could also clue us in more. It's one thing if the storage arrays are doing it in the background, it's another if the application is telling you."
While some vendors aren't sure to what extent the demand for energy efficiency will impact their storage products, most are sure that products aimed at conserving power will continue to gain momentum.
"Some of this greenness is much more of a philosophy over the work that we do, rather than just a product feature or release feature," Schott said. "And you can always do better. Even when you reduce and improve a few things, you're not done."
BIO: Matt Perkins is an assistant editor for TechTarget's Enterprise Applications Media Group.
This was first published in April 2009