NetApp’s customer-facing green strategy or lack thereof was one of my few disappointments at the recent NetApp analyst day. At the end of the sessions, the impression was that such a strategy was not on their radar, and that, I have some difficulty in accepting.
Green IT was not totally ignored. Dave Robbins, CTO, IT Infrastructure, gave an excellent overview of NetApp Green IT activities from an IT practitioner’s perspective. His efforts and those of his team are to be applauded.
Dave’s team has accomplished impressive things:
- By implementing VMware they reduced from 4600, x86 based clients to 230 saving $1.3M in power and cooling and reduced the number of racks needed by 182.
- In their Oracle environment they consolidated midrange servers to logically partitioned enterprise-class servers, which added 300% capacity to production servers and increased the development landscape by 143%. Replication time was also shortened by 2400% (from 1-2 days to 1hr) and the need for a 74% increase in floor space was avoided as was the need for 81% additional power which saved an additional draw on the power grid of 236kW.
Both of these achievements are a great illustration of what desire and a bit of planning can do.
So what was achieved as a direct result of NetApp technology? First, it made possible a consolidation strategy reduced storage systems from 50 to 10. This freed up 19.5 racks in the data center and reduced power consumption by 41,184 KWh/mth, or 32%. Air conditioning was reduced by 94 tons which translates to eliminating approximately 1M lbs CO2 emissions annually, and as a bonus they increased storage utilization by 60%.
In today’s popular parlance, NetApp is eating its own dog food, very successfully. But how is this great work being exploited? Where is NetApp’s customer-facing green strategy? If there is such a strategy, it is not obvious. The product presentations have no mention of how NetApp is driving environmental and energy efficiency, even when discussing data reduction technologies.
Although I am a green advocate, I am also the first to admit that green per se does not necessarily win business, But energy costs, space efficiencies, waste management, etc., are increasing becoming relevant even for the pragmatist whose sole worry is operational costs. Even without the pending legislation Washington has in store for us, a strong, well-articulated green strategy is a valuable sales asset, and its importance will continue to increase with the proliferation of worldwide environmental legislation. EMC, Dell, HP and IBM have all received this message.
Action Item: The NetApp IT folks have established solid green credentials in the industry. they were, and probably still are, involved with the Data Center Energy Forecast Report sponsored by Accenture, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, DOE and many others, in short they have a thought leadership position in Green IT.
Why NetApp is not exploiting the great work being done by Robbins and crew, particularly when showcasing NetApp technology, is difficult to understand. The NetApp marketing team has been given a golden opportunity, and it would be a shame to let that gift go to waste.