With the advent of technology, the state of the environment has become critical. Innovation has changed the outlook of our lives. Though, on the other hand, we had to make compromises with the environment. The rise in temperature is continuously creating a havoc.
Today is the 45th World Environment Day. It was a flagship campaign began to spread awareness regarding the increasing environmental issues; Issues, which are created by human activities, such as air, and marine pollution, global warming, depletion of resources, etc.
Keeping in mind our responsibility towards the environment, we had a conversation with Krithiwas Neelakantan, Director, (Next Generation Data Centre) NGDC Business, NetApp on Green IT and IT sustainability.
When innovation in technology is at its best, how imperative is the IT Sustainability?
IT Sustainability is of paramount importance, as it is crucial in maintaining a balance between corporate profitability and responsibility. NetApp is committed to environmental stewardship and practices sustainable cloud computing and green IT. We excel in data centre sustainability.
Not only have we enabled our data centres and labs to be energy-efficient, we have also developed design concepts and construction processes to deliver facility capacity at a fraction of industry averages. In fact, in terms of end-user cost per unit of data centre capacity, delivering lower capital costs is as impactful as low energy use.
Why choosing Hybrid Cloud Storage is a good option? Does it support Green IT?
Certainly. Cloud Computing saves energy from start to finish, making it a green IT enabler. Firstly, it gives customers the flexibility of paying and using as per need. Secondly, these services run on shared infrastructure. Customers are not only just using optimal energy, they are also utilizing existing resources without additional infrastructure. Therefore, moving to the cloud is a great way to check energy consumption.
When moving to the cloud, not everything belongs in a public cloud. Which is why many forward-thinking companies choose a hybrid mixture of cloud services. Hybrid cloud enables organizations to tie together on-premises data centre, private and public cloud resources, and workloads. They can connect existing systems running on traditional architectures that run business-critical applications or contain sensitive data that might not be suited for the public cloud.
Combine the benefits of the hybrid cloud with the green IT enablement offered by cloud computing and it’s a win-win for any organization looking to not only reduce costs associated with energy but, also to comply with environmental objectives.
What measures should tech organizations take to reduce storage power consumption?
As mentioned earlier, cloud computing is a great green IT enabler and moving to a hybrid cloud environment will help organizations save energy costs as well as reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, for existing infrastructures, NetApp has developed an 8-point strategy for fighting storage power consumption and improving data centre power efficiency.
The measures include:-
Consolidating servers and storage – Servers alone can consume 50% of the power coming into the data centre. The first step in reducing power consumption is consolidating and virtualizing application servers. In addition to reducing power loads, consolidating data dramatically simplifies the file-serving environment and creates valuable management, performance, and cost efficiencies.
Using Higher-Capacity Drives – higher-capacity drives can significantly alter the storage power equation. For instance, SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) disk drives consume about 50% less power per TB than equivalent capacity Fiber Channel drives. They also offer the highest available storage density per drive, further helping minimize power consumption. NetApp disk resiliency and data protection technologies have made SATA drives an increasingly viable alternative for many enterprise applications.
Protecting Against Disk Failures With Fewer Drives – Using SATA means storing larger amounts of data on fewer drives, hence less energy consumption. But, organizations need to utilize the best protection and security measures for these drives as well as ensure that data reliability is not compromised.
Migrating Data To More Efficient Storage – To ensure the most efficient use of storage resources, organizations need to minimize the use of primary storage by migrating data to more efficient secondary storage wherever appropriate.
Increasing Utilization – According to industry estimates, storage utilization rates average 25–40%. That means 60–75% of all storage capacity goes unused; wasting storage as well as power. Organizations need to address this with technologies that enable thin provisioning, a technique that lets storage administrators quickly and dynamically resize flexible volumes, eliminating the need for over or under allocation.
Backup: Doing more with less – Countless copies of data files consume vast amounts of storage. Using de-duplication technology helps free up this capacity. Example, With NetApp Snapshot technology, a single copy of data can be used multiple times, freeing the backup systems for compliance and disaster recovery.
Eliminating Storage Overhead For Testing And Development – Testing and development require numerous copies of data, putting huge additional demands on storage infrastructure. Using technologies like NetApp FlexClone lets organizations make multiple, instant virtual copies of data with no storage overhead or space.
Measuring Power Efficiency – Organizations should measure their storage power efficiency regularly. Such calculations reveal important differences between seemingly similar systems and help plan and optimize better.
How does power and cooling impact Data Center infrastructure? What is the best practice for cooling data centres?
In the data centre, power and cooling go hand in hand. Traditionally, every watt brought into the data centre for powering equipment requires the second watt of power for cooling. Here, a common error made by organizations is overcooling. Most data centres cool equipment based on manufacturers’ power-load recommendations. Because manufacturers typically base their power consumption estimates on running peak loads all the time—a condition that is rarely met, data centres overcool their equipment.
Overcooling equipment is not an efficient use of energy. Also, adoption of Flash storage has a positive impact on the overall data centre. Flash storage reduces density in the Data Center by decreasing the storage footprint. This leads to the significant drop in power usage and subsequent cooling. Therefore, organizations need to explore options around all-flash data centres and flash adoption.
Keeping this in mind, here are some best practices for optimal cooling of data centres:-
Organizations need to calculate accurate power loads. Generally, busses in the data centre are shared by servers and storage, making it hard to separate server and storage power requirements. To arrive at reasonable power-load estimates for specific circumstances, the organizations should test equipment in a lab before deploying it in the data centre. NetApp has discovered that reasonable power-load estimates in such circumstances are 30% to 40% lower than manufacturer estimates.
Rack by Rack Monitoring – Once the systems have been deployed, monitoring rack-by-rack power usage and balancing the phases is needed. By constantly tuning the cooling systems based on specific experiences, companies can cut down the amount of energy that would be wasted due to overcooling.
Using Variable frequency drives for air handlers – Instead of running fans at 100% speed, variable frequency drives vary the speed of the fans depending on what’s actually needed to cool the IT equipment on a row-by-row basis. Sensors constantly monitor temperatures, and the air handler fan speeds are automatically adjusted to increase fan speeds in hotter areas and reduce them in cool areas. The energy saved by reducing fan speed is dramatic: a 50% reduction in fan speed yields and an 87% reduction in power consumption.
According to you, the ideal way to be the flag bearer of Green IT?
We believe that the ideal way is to lead by example. NetApp is a leader in corporate social responsibility and our data centres are already at the forefront of sustainability. We are committed to environmental stewardship and practice sustainable cloud computing and green IT practices in-house. Globally, our data centres are recognized to be among the most energy-efficient in the world.
In fact, our Global Dynamic Lab (GDL1) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is the first ever Energy Star-certified data centre. It is one of the highest-performance data centres in the Energy Star database.
In India, the Global Centre of Excellence (GCOE) is also built to embrace sustainability as a core value. Example, for water conservation, we have a zero-discharge facility and collect rainwater in an eco-pond. The wastewater gets recycled for irrigation and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
We also use light sensors and dimmable light fixtures to conserve electricity. We use water-cooled compressors for highest efficiency with an R-123 refrigerant with the lowest global warming potential. The campus is also battery-free – we use flywheel technology that completely eliminates disposal of hazardous lead and acid-based batteries for the next 30 years. 80% of our energy is used up from renewable sources. We are also the proud recipient of the highest platinum rating awarded to us by the prestigious Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).