Consider the data centers supporting a search engine such as Google, for example. When I enter a query into Google (and I dare not think how many such queries I launch each day), I tend to think of the process as being "free" on the basis that no one ever sends me a bill.
In reality, however, each such search consumes an average of 4.5 watts. When you consider that Google is easily processing 400 million queries a day, this equates to 1.8 billion (1,800,000,000) watt-hours per day being used to handle basic search queries. And Google is only one search engine company...
The end result is that data center energy consumption accounts for almost 0.05% of total world production and an estimated 1.5% of total energy consumption in the USA. If nothing is done to make data centers more power-efficient, incremental US demand for data center energy between now and 2010 will require the equivalent of about 10 new power plants!
So, why am I waffling on about this? Well, although I have the greatest respect for Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology, it seems so "20th century" to actually have a physical disk coated with ferromagnetic material spinning around and around as your primary mechanism for bulk storage.
The point is that Solid State Drive (SSD) technology is coming along in leaps-and-bounds. In February 2008, for example, Samsung announced the mass production of SATA II 64 GB SSDs. Only 10 months later, the little rascals announced the mass production of 256 GB SSDs. Having an exceptionally high performing 256 GB SSD into a notebook is analogous to having a top-of-the-line 15,0000 RPM HDD, without all of its size, noise, and power consumption (and cooling) drawbacks.
Returning to data centers, one way for companies to address the power issues associated with these little scamps is would be to start deploying SSDs; consider the following numbers and points that Samsung just threw my way:
- On a per-IOPS comparison, Flash drives require 98% less energy
- HDD: 7-20 watts; SSD <2 watts
- The cost of cooling a data center is directly proportional to its power consumption
- SSDs tremendously reduce drive power consumption
- Reduced cooling requirements directly reduces carbon emissions
- SSDs outperform HDDs by an average of 11X
- Reduced Hardware
- Adoption of SSD for the highest performance HDD applications would save $1.2B in drives alone
- Enterprise SSD offers 25% higher reliability
- Predictable SSD failures (versus unpredictable HDD failures) reduces IT costs
If you're interested in learning more (including seeing some videos on this topic), bounce over to
www.SamsungSSD.com (if anyone asks, tell them "Max says Hi!").
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at email@example.com). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.