The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has come out with a means of measuring storage devices for power efficiency -- after three years of working on the technical nitty-gritty of the measurement methods. The specification will be relevant for any organization seeking to squeeze power consumption out of its data center.
The SNIA Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification (which can be downloaded for free) aims to provide a vendor-neutral means of testing how storage technology handles loads; it was developed collaboratively by 25 SNIA member companies. It tests both idle states (when a storage device is waiting for an application IO request) or active states (when the device is actually processing data transfers from a host device).
The effort got a thumbs-up from one of the data center leads for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.
"The EPA Energy Star program is very supportive of the SNIA work on the storage system taxonomy and the test measurement methods contained within the SNIA Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification. The form an excellent starting point in the industry effort to understand and improve storage system energy efficiency. Additionally, the data generated using the Emerald test method will help drive a wider industry discussion on energy efficiency, testing methods and efficiency metrics."
Hewlett-Packard and IBM have already submitted test results for some of their data center storage devices, SNIA reports. System manufacturers and independent testing laboratories are being encouraged to download the tests, run them and post the results to the SNIA Emerald Program -- along with relevant configuration information such as whether the device uses thin provisioning or deduplication. They won't be able to use the logo publicly, though, until after the results are reviewed and green-lighted.