The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has announced the release of its Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification and Program. The Emerald Measurement Specification is an independent method for measuring storage power efficiency and the Emerald Program provides an industry–wide database of measured test data.
It’s part of the SNIA’s Green Storage Initiative (GSI), which is looking for ways to make storage technologies more energy efficiency and to minimise the environmental impact of storage. The Specification has been a collaboration between more than 25 member companies.
The Measurement Specification is in several parts:
Taxonomy: An industry–wide means of segmenting storage systems that will be used to categorise the test results.
Test Methodology: A detailed methodology for testing various types of storage systems with load generators and power measurement instruments.
Test Metrics – Both for an Idle Measurement Test, when storage systems are powered up but not doing anything, and for an Active Measurement Test, where storage products are in an “active” state and processing requests for data transfer.
The SNIA Emerald Program website will provide the resources needed to carry out the tests and submit storage system power usage and efficiency test results. The Program is available to anyone, not just members. HP and IBM, both SNIA GSI members, have apparently already submitted test results for their commonly used data centre storage systems.
The market for data storage systems has been growing rapidly in recent years and storage can account for as much as a quarter of the power used in data centres. So storage is becoming an increasing green IT focus. Storage virtualisation is growing and tiered storage promises to help keep a lid on costs and emissions, but these technologies and practices can only use the hardware that’s on the market.
This independent measure of power efficiency from the SNIA should put renewed focus on the storage hardware vendors themselves to improve power efficiency. Well done to HP and IBM for leading the way.