HP Aims to Halve Data Center Power Costs

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-06-19

HP Aims to Halve Data Center Power Costs

Hewlett Packard on June 19 introduced a slew of "green" storage software and hardware products that the company claims can cut storage array power and cooling costs in data centers for enterprises and SMBs by as much as 50 percent.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company made the announcement at the HP Americas StorageWorks Conference in Las Vegas.

These products come at a time when enterprises are continuing to push technology vendors to find ways to help them reduce power and cooling costs in their data centers.

"The importance of energy efficiency is growing in everyones minds," said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HPs StorageWorks business. "Its no longer trivial. Its actually a big deal."

The new products—the latest additions to the companys adaptive infrastructure data center initiative—include thin provisioning and performance enhancements for the HP StorageWorks EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) family; new tape drives based on the LTO (Linear Tape Open) 4 standard; new DAT (digital audiotape) 160 tape drives for small and midsize businesses; and the first HP StorageWorks tape product developed exclusively for HP BladeSystem c-Class enclosures.

Thin provisioning—a key ingredient in these products—is a way that IT administrators can use storage resource management and virtualization to put limits on the allocation of physical storage to meet what applications immediately need. The result is improved capacity on demand up to preset limits, so that enterprises can reduce the need to buy and manage excess disk storage.

According to analyst firm StorageIO Group, storage currently accounts for 37 to 40 percent of overall data center energy usage from hardware. Using Hewlett-Packards new storage products, a customer with a monthly storage electric bill of $3,000 could save as much as $18,000 per year in power and cooling costs, according to HP.

That type of calculation will become more of an issue for IT departments as they take on more and more budget concerns, Eitenbichler said. He said HP has found that in only 20 percent of cases it has looked at do the energy costs come out of the IT budget. Its usually the facilities group that pays those bills.

According to HP, its StorageWorks EVA4100, 6100 and 8100 midrange disk arrays can improve power efficiency by up to 45 percent and performance by as much as 24 percent over previous EVAs.

Using hardware and software technologies such as EVA DCM (Dynamic Capacity Management), Vsnap and FATA (Fibre ATA) disk drives, the new EVAs help IT managers optimize hard drive utilization, HP said. Eitenbichler said DCM is similar to thin provisioning, but gives users the flexibility to not only increase capacity, as thin provisioning does, but also decrease it as needed.

DCM will initially be offered for Windows environments, but support for Linux and HP-UX implementations will come in the near future, he said.

"We did a study in 2006 that found that 55 percent of end users we surveyed left between 30 and 50 percent of their storage capacity stranded," said Tony Asaro, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, an industry analyst firm focused on storage and information management.

Click here to read why HP CEO Mark Hurd gives improving the energy and management efficiency of enterprise data centers as a top goal.

Tape will continue to be a key technology in the storage industry, despite years of claims that it was fading away, and energy efficiency is one reason, Eitenbichler said. Enterprises will need to continue to store large amounts of data for long periods of time. It makes more fiscal and environmental sense to store older data on tapes rather than on spinning disks that are eating up power, he said.

The new StorageWorks LTO-4 Ultrium1840 tape drive is aimed at midsize and enterprise customers, and offers high capacity and fast performance with energy savings that include up to 50 percent fewer watts per gigabyte than previous generations being consumed, HP said.

Next Page: Tape keeps rolling along.

Tape Keeps Rolling Along

The LTO-4 Ultrium1840 tape drive includes HP Data Protector Express Single Server edition software with hardware encryption support. LTO-4 Ultrium 1840 tape drives will also be available in HP StorageWorks MSL, EML and ESL E-Series Tape Libraries.

The HP Ultrium 448c Tape Blade is a half-height tape storage blade that protects data for HP BladeSystem c-Class blades. For systems not connected to a storage area network, the Ultrium 448c not only protects data for the blades, but also uses the HP Dynamic Power Saving mode to reduce power requirements by as much as 22 percent.

Click here to read about a significant expansion of Hewlett-Packards portfolio of data center management software and services.

The HP StorageWorks DAT 160 tape drive, aimed at SMBs, consumes fewer watts per gigabyte than previous generations. The DAT 160 delivers backup speeds of up to 50GB per hour and offers up to 160GB of capacity on a single cartridge, twice the capacity of other DAT drives.

Asaro said HPs storage announcements proved that tape-based storage products will continue to provide the majority of backup needs for companies that have to maintain thousands of records.

In addition, since HPs EVA 4100, 6100 and 8100 all use tape, these systems can reduce power and cooling costs in a way that hard drives with moving parts simply cant do, Asaro said.

"I think this announcement has helped make tape a little cooler," Asaro said. "If you think about it, tape does not use as much power as a spinning disk backup, and thats where the real power and cooling costs come in. Tape is also portable, and you can latterly have boxes and boxes of these stored somewhere. If these are taken off-site, then no other additional power is required," he said.

As for the "green" part of HPs storage announcement, Asaro said these issues tend to affect businesses on the East and West Coasts of the United States, where power costs are much higher. An even larger potential pool of customers for green storage can be found in other areas, such as in Japan and major European hubs such as London or Frankfurt.

Bob Laliberte, also with the Enterprise Strategy Group, added that the storage announcements contribute to HPs overall plan to provide an array of hardware, software and support through its various divisions and then tie these parts together through its services group.

"Theres a ton of opportunity out there, and HP is well positioned to take advantage of that," Laliberte said.

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