Users say storage vendors should provide greener products

IT departments calling for more energey efficient solutions

Nearly nine out of ten IT departments think storage vendors should produce more energy-efficient products.

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 U.K. and U.S. users -- 84 percent of whom thought that storage vendors should produce greener products.

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

Additionally 61 percent of respondees said that between 30 to 50 percent 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 organizations could improve energy efficiency by cutting the data they hold on spinning disk."

His firm automates data lifecycle management and integrates data migration, backup, archiving and replication for files, email, images and structured data.

In the recent past information lifecycle management (ILM) products have failed to become popular because they require an organization-wide view of data on heterogeneous storage systems, and an agreed way to identify 'old data' so as to migrate it off to an off-line 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: "Organizations 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 that many organizations are starting to use archiving for specific types of data such as emails, because of compliance and disaster recovery concerns. But few organizations 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 organization.

Cotterill said: "Only when you start taking an organization-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."

In other words, BridgeHead is hoping that a rising green tide will help refloat the stranded ILM boat along with traditional offline archives.

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Chris Mellor

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