Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally ! A Code of Conduct for Data Centers !

I was so so happy to see this report from SearchStorage, the first official regulation from any country on the use and maintenance of data centers. I am sure, all we green IT enthusiasts would love to hear something similar from the US as well ..

The Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation of the U.K.’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has challenged the IT industry to prevent further climate change with the official launch of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centers on November 19.

The Code of Conduct was created in response to increasing energy consumption in data centers and the need to reduce the related environmental, economic and energy supply impacts. It was developed with collaboration from the British Computer Society, AMD, APC, Dell, Fujitsu, Gartner, HP, IBM, Intel, and many others.

Those who choose to abide by the voluntary Code of Conduct will have to implement energy efficiency best practices, meet minimum procurement standards, and report energy consumption every year.

The UK is also the first country in the world to approve legally binding climate change laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; data centers in the U.K. are responsible for about 3% of electricity use, and the goal is an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2050.

America is far behind Europe with climate change policies, but it looks like it might finally be getting its act together in terms of protecting the planet. Climate change legislation and carbon emission regulations promise to become a reality under President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to enact global-warming legislation.

Unfortunately, the legislation would impose a cap-and-trade system on utility companies that could raise the price of power an estimated 20% across the board, so getting as efficient as possible before the legislation takes effect would be a wise move.

To that end, vendors have come up with highly efficient servers and lower watt CPUs that perform just as well as their higher power predecessors. There is also software to control power consumption and to cap server power usage, and finally reliable virtualization software to increase server utilization, so there really are no excuses for running under-utilized systems these days

Sunday, December 07, 2008

An FAQ on Deduplication.

After my previous post, I thought an FAQ on deduplication would be the best way to strengthen concepts around the same .. So here they are :

What type of data reduction ratios should you realistically expect using deduplication?
Realistically, I think it's safe to assume a ratio of anywhere between 13 to 17X. You'll probably see lower ratios on target-based deduplication, and you'll see higher ratios on source-based deduplication just because of how they are architected.

Which data deduplication appliances and backup software do you view as enterprise ready?
Some of the technologies that may be enterprise-ready are Dilligent Technologies and Sepaton. Both companies have had products on the market for some time now, and they are both having pretty good success in the market.

How long does it take for companies to achieve these data reduction ratios?
In the short term, you might see a reduction of 2X or 3X over the course of the first month or so. But the longer you keep the data deduplication, that's when you start to see the larger numbers.

When does data deduplication using backup software on the host make sense?

There are a couple factors that you really need to consider. If you're bandwidth constrained and are trying to back up data and you have large amounts of data coming over the network, then using data deduplication at the host makes a lot of sense. That can dramatically free up the amount of bandwidth that you have.

It is important that the host can sustain the initial hit. This technology requires memory and CPU processing to perform the data deduplication. It might be a good idea to run the initial backup over a weekend when the backup window is a bit longer.

Are there any instances where data deduplication will not provide any benefits? Superior benefits?

With photos, videos, etc., there's not a lot of duplicate information. If there are a lot of new images being created, then you'll see very little benefit from data deduplication. In that case, you're better off just running differential or incremental backups.