Greening of Storage
By Tim Gorman
I recall that the Dec 1999 or Jan 2000 issues of Nat’l Geographic magazine had a “Letters From The Editor” column that speculated, in jest, that the rate at which humans were saving back-issues of Nat’l Geographic magazine, would by the year 2100 result in the total accumulation of yellow magazines outweighing planet Earth.
Anyway, that statement resonated with me, because although I change residences every few years, it has only been recently that I hadn’t packed and carried my decades of accumulated Nat’l Geographic magazines with me. Now that I’m free of them, I have no idea why I schlepped them with me for so long. Worse, it cost real money to do so; movers charge by weight. One mover commented that he was certain that two-thirds of the weight of all my possessions were books and Nat’l Geographic magazines, as he handed me an $8,000 bill for the move.
I now collect books on Kindle. And I dropped off my boxes of yellow Nat’l Geographic magazines at the Goodwill store, in the middle of a dark and shameful night, almost a decade ago. I don’t know if it was a particularly “green” decision, but I know that my recent moves have been the easiest since I was an undergraduate.
Likewise in data centers. If we keep doing business in data centers as we have for the past 30 years, quite soon the planet would tilt off it’s axis due to the sheer weight of data storage hardware.
The advent of virtual machines has had a profound impact on provisioning environments. Instead of unpacking, racking, wiring, powering, and cooling physical servers, data centers can now create virtual machines by the hundreds by pointing and clicking. All of these new virtual machines share the previously under-utilized CPU and RAM resources of physical servers, making the ROI on CPU and RAM resources sky high.
So, virtual machine technology has allowed data centers to provision several million virtual servers without having to power and cool several millions of physical servers. They use the existing physical servers far more efficiently. That is “green”.
Not so with disk storage.
Each virtual machine still requires a full image of storage. So, as several million virtual servers have been spun up, each has required a full complement of disk storage, thus driving the already overheated computer storage industry into supernova.
I’ve said it before and say it again: if you have money to invest, do so in either energy or data storage. We’re never going to use less of either.
So how does Delphix fit in?
Delphix virtualizes data, just as VMware and their competitors virtualize servers. Delphix data virtualization makes more efficient use of existing storage, and slows the rate of growth of storage in data centers.
Data virtualization leapfrogs and multiplies the incremental improvements in storage, introducing real agility and increasing the tempo of development operations, ultimately utilizing storage resources more efficiently.
Server virtualization has been a huge initial step, but data virtualization is the final step to fully deliver on the promise of infrastructure virtualization.
Fast, good, cheap.
That is “green”.
photo by John P Clare