As mentioned in my post titled, Virtualization and Green Computing, green computing the industry catch phrase for finding ways to make the most efficient use of computing resources. In this post, I'd like to look at storage virtualization and the role it plays in green computing.
Storage virtualization, by the way, is using hardware and software to break the link betwen an application, application component, system service or whole stack of software and the storage subsystem. This allows the storage to be located just about anywhere, on just about any type of device, replicated for performance reasons, replicated for reliability reasons or for any combination of the above.
- Consolidation — In the past, it was necessary for each computer system to have its own storage to function. Storage virtualization makes it possible for systems to access a shared storage subsystem that is somewhere out on the net. It also means that files that used to be stored on every computer's disks can now be stored once in the shared storage subsystem. It's clear that this approach would reduce the number of storage devices needed, the amount of power required, the heat produced and, as a wonderful side effect, would reduce the operational and administrative costs of back up, archival storage and the like.
- Appropriate devices — since the link between the application and the actual storage device is broken by storage virtualization software, the device can be selected based upon what's most appropriate. Applications and data that are accessed frequently can be stored on high speed, expensive devices that consume more power. Applications and data that are accessed less frequently can be stored on lower speed, less expensive devices that consume less power. Rarely accessed applications and data can be migrated to archival storage devices that result in the lowest cost and require the lowest power consumption.
As with other forms of virtualization, this is not new. It's been an important part of most datacenters for the past 30 years or so. Suppliers such as EMC, HP, IBM and many others are helping make this technology available for high volume, mass market desktops and servers. Properly utilized, this approach can help organizations reduce hardware, maintenance and administrative costs while also helping preserve the endangered kilowatt and preventing the release of the dreaded BTU, Calorie or Joule.
How is your organization using storage virtualization to create green computing environment?