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MAID reduces power
Chris Brown, VP of IT at Glenwood Springs, CO-based Alpine Bank, chose to tier his storage with a $175,000 purchase of two Nexsan Technologies Inc. Assureon MAID systems (each with 3.7TB of storage; one is offsite and they replicate to each other). Brown calls the Nexsan his first real green purchase at a company that's been recognized for having a green team and the goal of becoming a paperless institution.

Alpine Bank installed the Assureon systems with AutoMAID in mid-2007. Brown says the AutoMAID function spins down disks depending on how often data is accessed. For example, Level 1 retracts the hard drive read/write heads and responds to a request from data in less than a second. Level 2 slows the drive from 7,200 rpm to 4,000 rpm and spins back to full speed in less than 15 seconds at the first data request. Level 3 puts the drive in light sleep without turning it off, and it can take 30 seconds to respond to a request. Alpine Bank uses Level 1 AutoMAID for data that hasn't been accessed for five minutes and Level 2 for data that hasn't been accessed for 60 minutes.

"We're a local community bank using optical devices," says Brown. "We put in a new document management system and had the option of doing optical again, which is slow." The optical drives also take up a lot of space, he notes, at about 30 square inches. The Nexsan systems took up

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about a quarter of a rack, he adds. Brown estimates the bank will save at least 25% in power costs due to the Assureon purchase, and now the company is headed down the virtualization path--an IT project with a clear-cut green advantage.

Save $

  1. Buy a $30 P3 Interna-tional Corp. "Kill A Watt" meter that tells you how many watts, volts and amps your devices are using.

  2. Conduct a third-party storage efficiency audit to determine where your least active data resides. Use storage that has the lowest energy cost per terabyte for inactive data. Determine whether you can use advanced power management (APM), dynamic bandwidth switching (DBS) and adaptive voltage scaling (AVS) technologies.

  3. Replace low-capacity storage systems with newer, high-capacity systems that have lower, more efficient watts per terabyte.

  4. Implement automatic migration of data across multiple storage tiers. Consider MAID technology.

  5. When possible, use thin provisioning, dedupe and disk-to-disk backup. Do annual audits to guarantee efficiency.

This was first published in October 2008

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