On February 24th 2009, the Wikibon community convened to continue a panel discussion started at last fall’s Storage Networking World in Dallas. Participating in the call were:
- Daryl Molitor - Senior Architect at JCPenney
- Phil Bullinger - Executive Vice President, Engenio Storage Group, LSI
- Clod Barrera - Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Strategist at IBM Systems & Technology Group
- Ken Osterberg - Director, Enterprise PLM Portfolio Strategy at Seagate
More than 80 Wikibon members joined the call. What follows is a summary of Daryl Molitor’s opening remarks:
According to Daryl Molitor, JCPenney has spent more than $100M to improve energy efficiency in its stores and data centers. At the corporate level, JCPenney is working toward a goal of having more than 200 stores ENERGY STAR certified by 2011. The organization has replaced CRAC units and installed new lighting systems in 200 stores accounting for a savings of about 27 million kWh annually. The company is experimenting with small rooftop wind turbines in Reno and solar panels in some CA and NJ stores.
JCPenney has taken several small steps in its data centers that are adding up, specifically, the IT groups have taken the following actions which have resulted in a 40% reduction in energy costs:
Data Center Infrastructure
- Sealed gaps in tiles with cold locks and sealed air leaks;
- Implemented hot and cold aisle designs in the server area;
- Replaced 20 ton HVAC units with 30 ton units;
- Installed heat monitoring systems;
- Replaced lighting (which will yield a two year payback);
- Eliminated unused equipment;
- Installing software to manage air flow (future).
JCPenney is pursuing an aggressive server consolidation plan underpinned by virtualization. The company runs between 400-500 VMware images with 18-20 images per ESX. The organization hopes to be at 700-800 by year’s end. JCPenney also runs more than 200 images on seven AIX or Solaris platforms and is using LPAR and VIO wherever possible. It plans to virtualize standalone servers through attrition where possible.
JCPenney has implemented a three-tier storage architecture. The 2008 installed profile was:
- 1,500 SAN ports
- ~500TB of T1
- 450TB of T2
- 25TB’s of T3
The firm uses IBM’s SAN Volume Controller to virtualize about 200TB’s of T2 and T3 storage. Virtualized storage is expected to increase by 67% in 2009. While the pyramid looks skewed, with T3 being light, this tier increased 47% in 2008 and over time JCPenney plans to more aggressively move to T3 storage.
In the near term, the company has replaced all 73GB drives with 146GB devices on T1 and completely eliminated 146GB drives in T2, moving to 300GB drives. All T3 storage is placed on 1TB devices. The company has been able to increase drive capacities while decreasing its T1 storage by 12%. These storage actions have allowed JCPenney to reduce core space requirements by 20% and head and electricity by 22%.
Longer term the company is planning to implement solid-state devices, which it believes declined 75% from initial announcement price (approximately one year ago). JCPenney plans to aggressively implement flash drives for performance applications and over the longer term, implement a T1/T3 architecture with flash doing the bulk of T1 work and ultra capacity drives (e.g. 4-8TB) storing T3 data.
As well, the company is doing a proof of concept for data de-duplication in 2009 and will reducing its tape footprint, freeing up more floor space.
Action Item: JCPenney's green IT initiatives started largely as a set of actions designed to improve data center efficiency. These coincided with major corporate sustainability efforts and have coalesced into a more coherent strategy over the past six months. In this tight economy IT management should seek to align data center efficiency and corporate sustainability efforts, focusing on low-risk initiatives that payback inside of 12 - 18 months.