Friday, May 23, 2008

Compression could reduce data center energy use by 95%


By Peg Fong

"Data center" and "sexy" don't seem to quite work in the same sentence. But "greener data centers"? Ooh, we've got chills now.

U.S. business servers and data centers suck up the energy equivalent of all the electricity consumed by color televisions. The industry uses about the same amount of electricity as 5.8 million average American households. How to green such a massive sector? Start with better data compression technologies, which is already widely used in backup and secondary storage to decrease the capacity needed for these functions.

Broaden out that concept and apply compression to primary data, such as application servers, email or databases and that will radically reduce data center energy usage. Storwize Inc., a San Jose, CA, tech company, has a process to reduce data center energy usage up to 95 percent. This means on a 100 TB database, Storwize can compress that to less than 10 TB of physical disk.

Real-time data compression reduces the amount of data written to storage devices and thus reduces CPU, disk, memory, and network utlilization on the storage system. It can do this through its patent-pending algorithms that allow write and read operations from any location within the file while avoiding the need to decompress the whole file.

Compressed data doesn't just save energy use, it reduces the real estate required to house the data centres, the energy needed to cool down the space, and all the other trappings of physical space that adds up to a heavier footprint on the environment.

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