Big savings with MAID 2.0 storage technology

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

For years companies have been deploying Massive Arrays of Idle Disks technologies to reduce data-storage energy costs. The on/off or spin/no spin approaches reduce energy consumption by putting power-hungry disk drives to sleep when they are not being used.

Early versions of MAID products -- whether you think of them as first-generation MAID, MAID 1.0 or "old MAID" -- have two shortcomings, however. First, spun-down drives typically take several minutes to spin back up: That's an unacceptable length of time and results in an unacceptable loss of performance for most applications. Second, most MAID 1.0 providers support only a limited percentage of active disks at any given time, frequently as few as 25 percent.

MAID 2.0 broadens energy-saving options by adding multiple modes -- instead of the binary on/off approach of MAID 1.0 -- that are designed to accommodate different types of data. For instance, such files as financial records and medical test results need to be stored for several years or even much longer, but their data doesn't change. An X-ray, for example, needs to be stored, but it typically is not accessed frequently if at all; and it is never altered. Such fixed-content data is ideally suited for MAID 2.0 applications.

Disk drives consume 80 percent of the power used in data storage, and unless technologies focus on solving this specific issue, they missing the point. Both MAID 1.0 and MAID 2.0 meet this critical criterion, but MAID 2.0 delivers the additional benefit of performance assurance. The MAID 1.0 approach of turning off spinning disk drives can achieve significant power savings; but because this practice has such a dramatic and negative effect on application performance, it is not practical in most circumstances. The unwavering goal of MAID 2.0 technologies is to deliver energy savings to the broadest set of applications without affecting their performance.

MAID 2.0 products achieve this goal by operating at user-defined and application-dependent energy-saving levels. A Level 1 setting signifies the fastest response time that still makes energy savings possible. A Level 1 setting would be ideal for such busy organizations as hospitals, which need fast access to patient X-rays or records, but can save energy when there are idle periods.

Many people incorrectly believe that 24/7 operations' data centers never experience idle time. However, according to a recent information-access study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, 90 percent of all stored data was not touched during a three-month time frame. Being open for business doesn't mean that all of an organization's storage disks need to be spinning at full speed.

A typical user might elect to put his storage devices into Level 1 MAID 2.0 after 15 minutes of inactivity. At that point, the read/write heads will be unloaded automatically. This simple step, transparent to the user, reduces air resistance and makes for an energy savings of approximately 20 percent. It maintains a sub-second response time without a power spike for the first I/O request. All subsequent I/O requests are handled instantaneously.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.


Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bob Woolery

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?