When I lived in the United States I was somewhat addicted to the Tennessee Volunteers college football team, an addiction which has since been replaced by Watford FC and England rugby union in my adopted home of London. Going to football games in Tennessee is like no other experience in the world as the stadium seats 110,000 people, and Tennesseeans view their football team as being just about the most important thing on the planet. Tales of weddings being arranged around key match dates are not uncommon, and I greatly enjoyed each and every time I went to a match. Two things that always left a huge impression on me were the noise the crowd made and the amount of energy expended by people walking to and from the stadium. The decibel levels of the crowd surpass that of a 747 airliner taking off [didn’t think I would send out a view without an aviation reference, now did you?] and it has been estimated that if the footfalls of the crowd were captured for one match alone …it could power Knoxville, Tennessee for three days. Interestingly, scientists are currently developing technologies which could capture heel strike power in high human traffic areas. Engineers who have modelled the effects of the technology at Victoria Underground station in central London have calculated that the 34,000 travellers passing through every hour could power 6,500 lightbulbs. One station alone …now imagine the power generated by capturing footfall at all of the Tube stations, and we could be well on our way to reducing dependence on fossil fuels et al for power generation.
What does this have to do with data storage and protection?
Investing money into developing foot strike mini-generators means that power is becoming a real issue. I know of major UK businesses investigating moving their datacentres to Iceland to make use of the geothermal power and natural cooling there. Iceland is volcanically active and makes use of this to produce power virtually for free …indeed, Iceland will be power independent by 2050. Oil prices continue to rise so UK companies are taking datacentre power and cooling costs very seriously indeed. The inefficient use of technology and continued growth of unstructured data largely contribute and exacerbate datacentre power and cooling issues. Server vendors have realised this and have been producing blade servers for quite a while, and technologies such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper V, and Parallels enable customers to get much higher utilisation out of their server environments whilst reducing the server footprint in the datacentre. Remember that for every 100W of power required for a server, you need at least another 70W to cool it. The more virtual servers you can eke out of a single physical server, the lower the power and cooling costs.
The same is true for storage, but storage consolidation can be somewhat more complicated and sometimes viewed as more disruptive to a business than server virtualisation. It needn’t be so, however. Computacenter storage solutions are designed to reduce the storage footprint …indeed, the active managed storage …within a customer datacentre without being disruptive to the business. Introducing data deduplication, archiving dormant data, consolidating the backup environment to remove large tape powderhorns with virtual tape libraries and much smaller tape libraries, and virtualising the storage infrastructure to ‘pool’ storage are but a few ways that we do this.
Computacenter’s thought leadership in Green Datacentre and the use of return on investment as well as cost benefit analysis models and calculations to justify expenditures which enable Green Datacentres is, in my estimation, unique in the marketplace and miles ahead of our competition. If you’ll pardon the pun, we shouldn’t hide this light under a bushel …and should strive to make use of this thought leadership when discussing datacentre power and cooling issues.
Challenge your internal customers. Challenge your vendor partners.
Challenge me and others within Computacenter to speak with you in demonstrable ways aand about topics such as datacentre power and cooling reduction which perhaps our competition are not as doing as this further differentiates Computacenter and our value to you …our customers.