Users want greener storage, says survey

Poll shows desire for power savings

Nearly nine out of ten IT UK and US IT departments think storage vendors should produce more energy-efficient hardware.

That’s according to BridgeHead’s annual Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) Audit, which clearly showed a growing interest in green and energy efficient technologies by both UK and US users — 84% of whom thought that storage vendors should produce greener products.

In the UK, concern over power costs (73%) was the most common reason organisations gave for wanting to improve the energy efficiency of their storage. Second came concern for the environment, highlighted by 57%, followed by power capacity worries (35%). In North America, the reasons were power costs (67%) and power capacity (59%) with environmental concerns coming last at 35%.

Additionally, 61% of respondees said that between 30-50% of data on their primary disk is unlikely to be accessed ever again.

Tony Cotterill, BridgeHead’s CEO, said: “There is nothing wrong with demanding more energy-efficient solutions from vendors, but many organisations could improve energy efficiency by cutting the data they hold on spinning disk.”

BridgeHead automates data lifecycle management and integrates data migration, backup, archiving and replication for files, email, images and other data.

In the recent past, information lifecycle management (ILM) products have failed to become popular because they require an organisation-wide view of data on heterogeneous storage systems, and an agreed way to identify “old data” so as to migrate it to an offline archive.

Also, the rise of technologies such as virtual tape libraries and data de-duplication, which can radically increase the amount of raw data held in an online archive, has increased the relative attraction of online archives for old and fixed content data versus that of tape and optical disk offline archive stores.

Cotterill says IT departments may need to keep old data for legal or regulatory reasons, but they can save power by taking it off to tape, optical disk, removable disk or other systems which do not consume power unless being accessed: “Organisations should be looking at defining and implementing archiving rules to move everything off primary storage that is old or infrequently accessed.”

BridgeHead’s research shows many organisations are starting to use archiving for specific types of data such as emails, because of compliance and disaster recovery concerns. But few are archiving for energy efficiency or cost considerations. It believes there needs to be an IT-driven move away from point solutions or isolated archive appliances to an enterprise-wide approach which looks at archiving all data types across the whole organisation.

Cotterill says: “Only when you start taking an organisation-wide approach to archiving will the volume of data you’re taking off the primary store stack up so that you begin to make a real difference in terms of energy savings.”

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