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NetApp Helps Customers Reduce Data Center Power Consumption Through Efficient Data Management


SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Powering the data center has quickly become one of the top issues that enterprises are facing today. In a recent survey of NetApp customers, 59% indicated a serious focus on addressing power consumption, with 46% already making investments. Tothat end Network Appliance, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) has unveiled its plan to help customers deploy leading-edge data management techniques to reduce their data center power consumption.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of customers constrained by the physical limits of their data centers: they can’t add more power, they’re running out of space, and they can’t add more cooling,” said Chris Bennett, vice president, Core Systems, NetApp. “While the issue of power consumption is certainly gaining a lot of attention in the server environment, customers are now looking beyond servers to other major consumers of data center power, and storage is certainly one of them. We believe that if more focus is put on getting increased work out of fewer disks while enabling widespread use of higher-capacity and lower-power disks, NetApp can help customers dramatically reduce power consumption.”

Explosive data growth is a reality for most data centers and a major concern for IT managers. To address data storage needs, the simple solution has been for IT managers to add more disks to existing storage systems, resulting in a proliferation of poorly utilized storage. As storage density increases, however, so do power demands and cooling concerns. As a result, this approach only adds to the power equation, causing many data centers to reach capacity limits with floor space, power, and cooling infrastructures.

In addition, many existing power-saving technologies fail to adequately address the main drivers behind power growth, focusing mainly on decreasing overall energy costs. The NetApp approach, however, is to halt power growth at its source by providing solutions that reduce raw storage and enable customers to do more with the storage systems already in their IT environments. Today, customers can take advantage of NetApp® technology to subtract machines and disks, reduce the overall data center footprint, and maximize storage utilization. This approach not only helps IT organizations achieve greater power efficiency but also lowers infrastructure complexity and costs while enabling customers to better respond to new business demands.

“We needed to make changes to our IT infrastructure to reduce power consumption levels and still maintain the responsiveness and high availability that our 15,000 international clients demand,” said NetApp customer Phil Nail, founder and chief technology officer of AISO.Net, a Web-hosting service provider. AISO.Net is the first and only public data center that is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Our initial requirement was redundancy for systems backup, but we also needed a solution that would allow us to continue to grow without adding to the 100 servers and storage systems already in our environment or increasing our electricity or cooling needs.”

“The redesigned infrastructure composed of IBM, Network Appliance, and VMware products met the energy consumption and system redundancy and scalability requirements of AISO.Net clients,” said Chris Lusk, vice president, Open Systems and Storage, Sirius Computer Solutions (, a NetApp STAR partner and leading advanced infrastructure solutions provider. “We were able to reduce the AISO.Net data center footprint to dramatically shrink their overall power consumption. NetApp was critical for meeting their redundancy requirements with crucial point-in-time views using NetApp Snapshot™ technology.”

“Leveraging NetApp Snapshot technology enabled us to do more with less and create a single copy of data that can be used for multiple uses so backup systems can be used for compliance and asynchronous disaster recovery,” added Nail. “We are no longer creating countless copies of data files that consume vast amounts of storage, dramatically reducing reliance on special-purpose storage systems and associated power requirements. We expect an 80% decrease in energy usage with our new system infrastructure.”

NetApp IT Cuts Storage Footprint, Dramatically Reduces Electricity Costs

In 2006, NetApp IT undertook a project of its own to consolidate its storage and take advantage of the latest advancements offered by NetApp Data ONTAP® 7G and FlexVol® technology. NetApp was facing several challenges, including low storage utilization and growing space, cooling, and power constraints.

Previously, in order to improve application performance, additional spindles were continuously added to the NetApp storage infrastructure. This approach resulted in unused capacity with overall storage utilization per volume that was less than 40%. In addition, NetApp IT needed additional power to meet the cooling needs of its 50 storage systems, which already had a combined maximum power consumption of 329kW.

NetApp IT realized significant improvements and solved its utilization and power challenges by consolidating data on 10 of the latest storage systems running Data ONTAP 7G. NetApp FlexVol technology increased operation flexibility by making it much easier to add new volumes or grow or shrink existing volumes to meet changing business demands. This flexibility also lowered costs with increased storage utilization from less than 40% to an average of 60%.

As a result, NetApp cut its storage footprint from 25 to six racks and eliminated 94 tons of air conditioning, reducing electricity costs by almost $60,000 a year. In addition, NetApp IT realized huge business benefits of reduced complexity through simplified management, reduced risk of data unavailability, and increased flexibility to respond to future IT needs.

“The challenges we faced in our own IT department are the same issues our customers are facing,” continued Bennett. “Consolidating storage attacks the power consumption issue at the source, not to mention dramatically simplifies data management and gets the most out of your storage infrastructure.”


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