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Conserve IT initiative out to kick-start green storage

Just as its MAID technology did, Copan’s energy-savings deal with Pacific Gas & Electric that began late last year is expanding.

PG&E offers rebates for customers who use storage systems it has certified as energy-efficient. The utility started last year with Copan’s Revolution systems and last week qualified 3PAR’s InServ systems.

An initiative called Conserve IT revealed today by storage research group Wikibon and seven storage vendors looks to bring more vendors and more technologies into the PG&E program, as well as help other utilities offer similar programs. Wikibon is measuring the green-friendliness of technologies such as MAID, flash, thin provisioning and virtualization.

The first vendors to sign on are 3PAR, Compellent, DataDirect Networks, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, Nexsan and Xiotech.

Wikibon founder and principal contributor David Vellante said his group will validate the baseline for energy efficiency, test products, write reports and submit them to PG&E.

“We bring in the last mile,” Vellante said. “We do the dirty work about really understanding why these products are more energy-efficient than some baseline. We determine where does that baseline come in and who measures this.”

Vellante said Wikibon is talking to utilities companies in Texas, California, New Jersey, Minnesota and Canada and he expects to add others to the list. Other technologies will likely be targeted too, such as data deduplication.

He said Wikibon and Conserve IT has no formal deal with PG&E, and vendors can qualify their technologies without its help. But the group has already helped 3PAR certify InServ. Vellante said along with storage companies, he is talking to software, server and communications firms. “We feel we can do this more quickly and efficiently than anybody right now, other than PG&E,” he said.

The program comes at the right time, as hype over green computing is being replaced by people actually looking to do something about it — even if it is more to save money than to save the environment in many cases.

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