Green data centre uses 93% less energy than a normal collection of servers

Compellent combines efficiency with low energy use

Wow. Colour me impressed. Compellent Technologies produce network servers and data storage hubs. With the rise of the internet, the amount of power generated by servers and data has grown exponentially, with most internet servers needing vast quantities of power and cooling of the heat produced. Compellent have made a product that only uses power when the data is being accessed, using a load of technologies like Automated Tiered Storage, Thin Provisioning and Advanced Virtualization. This can cut the power usage of the company buying the data centres by up to a massive 93%. If every server used technology like this, a large chunk of every developed country’s electricity usage would disappear.

[via Treehugger, image via Compellent’s website]

2 thoughts on “Green data centre uses 93% less energy than a normal collection of servers”

  1. General speaking 50% of all power consumed in a typical data center goes to cooling IT equipment with the second biggest consumer being servers followed by storage, any reduction to server and storage power consumption has an added benefit of also reducing cooling power consumption. For some environments the issue or concern is to reduce or avoid costs, for some the concern can be reducing their carbon footprint as a result of emissions from power consumption.

    However 90-95% of IT data center professionals I talk with indicate that one of their major concerns is how to support growth of servers, storage and networks while faced with limits on available and reliable electrical power. In other words, they are being forced to support more growth (demand) with a limited or constrained amount of power, cooling and/or floor space capabilities (supply). Thus while reducing energy costs and saving the planet are important topics, enabling business to grow and maintain or improve service levels are very important and real topics requiring the balance of supply (electricity) and demand (server, storage, network power consumption).

    MAID – Massive (or monolithic) Array of Idle Disks based storage systems that power down all or some number of disk drives to conserve or avoid power is one of many techniques to save, or, maximize power consumption and energy efficiency. MAID or power off storage systems are not new in the market having been around for several years now with companies like Copan being the early adopter. More recently, many other established vendors have come out with MAID based solutions including Fujitsu, HDS, NEC and Nexsan along with several startups including compellent among others.

    The trend moving forward as already evidenced by magnetic hard disk drive (HDD) manufactures Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) is variable intelligent power management (IPM). HGST for example has implemented multiple power saving modes to vary power consumption to applicable level of service at the HDD level.

    Unlike traditional MAID that powers drives completely off which can be applicable for inactive archive and backup data, IPM addresses all tiers and classes of storage to vary the power consumption to the applicable performance and usage model in a more intelligent and service friendly manner. For example, instead of simply turning drives off, with IPM based solutions or what some call second generation MAID or MAID 2.0, power savings range turning off HDD read / write and other electronic circuitry to save power, to stepping a HDD rotational speed down all the way down to power the HDD off.

    Several vendors have announced support for IPM including Nexsan with many more vendors working on solutions to align storage power consumption with the applicable level of performance and service. Think of it as storage that gets better miles per gallon city or highway when used, vs. saving energy by not being used. The difference is that with the storage instead of miles per gallon, the applicable metrics include activity per watt (or kWh) and capacity per watt where activity is performance for example IOPS, Bandwidth, Transactions and capacity is the amount of storage (raw or usable) in a given footprint for example square foot or cubic foot.

    Whether you are looking to save costs, save the planet, or support continued growth, learn more about power, cooling, floor space, energy, environmental and green related topics for storage, servers and data infrastructure topics including free tutorials, webcasts, articles, tips and other information at


  2. Many thanks Greg for that incredibly informative comment. The way I see it, more efficiency has got to be good for everyone. Doing more with less! Your website looks great – I’ll have a read to learn more about green data storage – it looks like a really beneficial use of technology.

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