Green Storage - the Big Picture ("Green is More Than kWh!") (Fall 2012)

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Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2012
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At least some of what you 'know' about "Green" IT is wrong. Re-thinking your Storage technology decisions to reflect environmental, economic, and engineering realities can make your data center more competitive. This talk will cover the three stages of any IT product life-cycle: "birth" (design/manufacture/install), "life" (operation across all load ranges, including idle and sleep), and "death/transfiguration" (recycle/disposal). Your decisions affect more than just product acquisition or operation; you own some life-cycle responsibility for your system. In cost-accounting terms, these decisions translate into capital expenses (CapEx) and operational expenses (OpEx), which combine to define TCO. Are these measures really Green, and can they guide you to the right purchase decisions? Do they encourage recycling? Do they encompass the embedded costs of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), even if your products are built in a country in another hemisphere? Do they include the costs associated with end-stage disposal of toxic metals and flame-retardant chemicals (the stuff that is in your products to make them more reliable or safer during operation)? Are the decisions you make not only good for your organization, but good for the rest of us as well? (Bonus question: do government programs like EPA ENERGY STAR or the European Code of Conduct for Data Centres lead to optimal outcomes?) One good place to focus is on understanding the differences between Power (Watts) and Energy (Watt-hours), and their respective effects on costs. The peak power your hardware or software can draw primarily affects CapEx, including data center infrastructure (e.g. UPS, PDU, CRAC, AHU) and the IT gear that it supports (e.g. Servers, Networking, and Storage). Energy consumption affects OpEx, by way of the monthly bills that the IT department probably never even sees. But what about all of the capital investment required for the generating stations, transmission lines, and distribution system? How does the utility recover their costs for that? You will learn how real-world billing and charge-back works, and what you learn should affect your architectural and operational decisions. Although this is a foundational presentation, storage examples are used extensively throughout, and provide a basis for later drill-downs on Green Storage.

Learning Objectives

Green IT is *not* just about electricity consumption! (Power and Energy are not the same, and they each affect costs differently.)
Embedded environmental and infrastructure costs may outweigh IT operational expenses in TCO calculations.
How your designs should change to reflect real-world billing and charge back mechanisms.