Network Appliance, a provider of storage and data management solutions, has joined the newly created Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Green Storage Initiative, which is dedicated to advancing energy efficiency and conservation in all networked storage technologies in an effort to minimise the environmental impact of data storage operations.
With more than 15 storage vendors as members, the Initiative's scope of work will span all shared storage technologies, including disk and tape systems, server connectivity, storage appliances, fabrics and other storage network infrastructure, file services, and storage applications.
Activities will initially include the development of tutorials and educational material, white papers and best practices for energy-efficient data centre storage operations.
The Initiative will also act as the SNIA liaison to other allied organisations such as the Green Grid Consortium and the EPA to collaborate on the development of more environmentally friendly data centre solutions.
For its part, NetApp will contribute its knowledge, expertise and best practices for deploying leading-edge data management techniques to reduce data centre power consumption.
The NetApp technology approach to halting power growth is to provide solutions that reduce raw storage and improve storage utilisation to enable customers to do more with the storage systems already in their IT environments. This approach not only helps IT organisations achieve greater energy efficiency, but also lower infrastructure complexity and costs while enabling customers to better respond to new business demands.
In addition, NetApp is a member of the SNIA Green Technical Working Group, which is focused on the development of metrics to measure and test against the energy consumption of data centre storage.
NetApp involvement in various industry organisations and consortiums, including the Green Grid Consortium, demonstrates the company's commitment to helping customers implement real, achievable data management techniques to reduce power, space, and cooling in the data centre.
Storage industry collaboration and cooperation will be an important aspect of effectively addressing the growing issue of data centre power consumption.
NetApp has been involved in helping its customers achieve greater energy efficiency in their data centres.
Continued dialogue across the industry, as well as with government organisations such as the EPA, will play a vital role in developing best practices for improving energy efficiency that customers can put into action.
As noted in the recent EPA Report to Congress on Server and Data Centre Energy Efficiency, increased demand for and investment in critical business applications and functions, disaster recovery and applications for regulatory demands are driving the demand for large amounts of data storage in data centres.
The EPA notes that the number of installed enterprise hard disk drive storage devices is expected to nearly quadruple from 2004 to 2010.
To solve this thirst for more data, many enterprises simply add more storage equipment, leading to greater power, space, and cooling requirements in the data centre as well as severely underused capacity.
Improving storage utilisation and optimisation enables enterprises to attack power consumption at one of its major sources.
NetApp IT, for example, undertook a storage consolidation project to better utilise its storage capacity.
As a result, NetApp reduced its storage equipment and increased storage utilisation to an average of 60%, cutting its storage footprint by 75%, eliminating 94 tons of air conditioning, and reducing electricity costs by almost $60,000 a year.
The EPA recently recognised Network Appliance’s innovative use of distributed generation (DG) and a combined heat and power (CHP) system, stating that innovative uses of power are among the ways that data centre operators can reduce energy usage and costs.
Network Appliance is certainly trying to do its part in helping enterprises, vendors and government organisations understand how storage and data centre design can have a big impact on energy usage, as well as share best practices to replicate in data centres around the world to save energy and reduce power.