PACE Yourself to Meet Storage Power and Cooling Needs


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To say that green initiatives involving power, cooling and the environmental effects of IT are a popular topic is an understatement, as the issue seems to be about everywhere you look these days. If you aren't up to speed on power, cooling, carbon off-set and associated IT infrastructure storage issues, check out the article Storage Power and Cooling Issues Heat Up along with the free educational Webcast Storage Power and Cooling: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do About IT.

There are many IT stories being given a green spin these days, giving rise to the term "green washing": instead of white washing a story, use green to get more attention.

Talking with IT professionals, while some have green and environmental consciousness issues, what I hear most frequently is that they need to do more with the electrical power and cooling they have available. Many IT organizations I talk with have already reached or maxed out their available power, cooling, backup or UPS power, with an even larger number of organizations anticipating running into a power availability issue in the next 12 to 18 months. Common power and cooling related issues I commonly hear include:

  • Power restrictions in your geographic area, limiting growth, power availability or stability
  • Reaching a ceiling on the available power in or to your facility (there is power in the region)
  • Your existing cooling capability is constrained either by its capacity or lack of available power
  • Your UPS or standby backup power capabilities are saturated or approaching saturation
  • Constrained by your internal power conditioning (surge) and distribution (circuit breakers)
  • Limited floor space to support growth, or lack of power accessibility where you have floor space
What makes headline news is when either your service provider can't transmit enough power to meet demand because of saturated transmission lines, or lack of available power from generating sources, with the result being rolling brownouts or blackouts. Another issue that can occur on a more local basis is where your electric utility can provide enough power to your facility, but within your building, you are not able to distribute the power to where it is needed, or your cooling or power conditioning, including surge and backup UPS capabilities, are not sufficient.

Since we are talking about infrastructure items, let's spend a moment and talk about the electrical power infrastructure in general. Electrical power availability will vary by how much power your local electrical utility or service provider can generate or acquire from other power sources. Limits on local and long distance transmission facilities, local substation and transformer capabilities that you are serviced by, as well as your facilities limitations, can also affect power availability. For example, your electrical service provider may be able to acquire and provide enough power, but the long distance transmission lines may be saturated and unable to transport the power where it is needed.

Variables that affect power and cooling include:

  • Power and cooling availability or cost
  • Floor space and backup power capacity
  • Disk drive type, including make, model, vintage, interface and capacity
  • Storage system power management and performance effectiveness
  • Storage system architecture and disk drive packaging
  • RAID configuration balancing performance, availability, capacity and energy (PACE)
Page 2: Finding a Solution

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