As Wikibon members predicted in early 2007, the emphasis on green from storage companies will continue to escalate dramatically in the coming years. Virtualization, thin provisioning, MAID/spindown, data de-duplication, etc. are put forth as key technologies to increase utilization and thereby reduce energy consumption. In general, these technologies, if applied in the right places will improve utilization, however they will merely buy time for IT managers.
To reduce the energy bill, which should be a goal of any green/green storage initiative, organizations must begin to address the root cause of the problem...too much data that is never accessed resides on disks that spin 24 X 7. As part of green storage strategies, organizations must improve data management by classifying, migrating and archiving less frequently used information and eventually placing this data on tape or on disk devices that are spun down. Finally, retention policies should allow for the elimination of information that is not required based on the policy and compliance edicts of the organization.
Action Item: Better data management is the key to reducing the energy budget long term. While emerging technologies that improve utilization are worthy, users should avoid being caught up in technology hype and the illusion that the problem can be solved solely with new technologies. Rather users should aggressively implement information life cycle management techniques and use tiered storage where each successive tier is both less expensive and uses less energy. Classification and the automation of policies is fundamental to this approach.