Tape Storage

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Rethinking Storage Models for Lower Energy

By Shawn Brume posted Tue February 08, 2022 10:20 AM

Part 2 of the #thinksustainable series
According to the National Retail Federation, 50% of consumers say they are willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands1.  Sustainable brands are defined by
brands that directly address the impact that products and services they are having on the environment. Planning sustainable operations is no longer an option, it is a requirement.

How do brands report sustainability?

“Sustainability” is a large bucket incorporating many factors of daily operations and product delivery. Every one of the associated factors have measurable metrics.  Energy (operations, production, thermal controls), operational component production and delivery, impacts from facilities, and even the impact of employees travel to and from work contribute to the environmental impact.  Energy consumption accounts for around 65% of data center operations depending on the source of data. Energy as a quantity of consumption and reflected in Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) are the two most common metrics reported by data centers globally. Despite continuous efforts, data center energy consumption continues to grow at 6% compounded yearly2,3. Carbon offsetting is quickly being discounted as "greenwashing". Data centers must look heavily at the sustainability of products they use in their infrastructures.  A great place to start is with data storage which accounts for more than 11% of all data center energy consumption4.

 Sustainable data storage 

Storage is such a viable method of reducing the impact of energy because storage must be accessible, but not in a hot state. This provides data center directors the opportunity to move data to the right storage and save energy in a dramatic way. Infrequently accessed data, often referred to as archive data, that is moved from hard disk drives (HDD) and onto physical tape can reduce energy consumption by more than 93%5.  With an estimated 65% of all data falling into the archive data category, data centers can realize up to 7% reduction in total energy usage by moving data to tape.  This efficiency improvement is compounded as data continues to grow while compute resources become more consolidated.

Image1: energy consumption compare of the Open Compute Project (OCP) Bryce Canyon HDD solution and an IBM TS4500 Tape solution.

Implementing a tape solution for only 10PBs of capacity enables further energy consumption requirements to be deferred or a decrease in the total energy consumption by the recognized reduction can be made. Reducing CO2 emissions requires implementing processes and products with lower CO2e impacts from day one.  Implementing tape for archive data in large data centers and in smaller installations is a proven method to implement storage solutions at a much lower level than with HDD, resulting in a much more sustainable business model.

#sustainable  #tapestorage#carbonfootprint#IBMstorage


  1. Research insights report – Consumers Want It All
  2. https://energypost.eu/the-nexus-between-data-centres-efficiency-and-renewables-a-role-model-for-the-energy-transition/
  3. The nexus between data centres, efficiency and renewables: a role model for the energy transition. https://energypost.eu/the-nexus-between-data-centres-efficiency-and-renewables-a-role-model-for-the-energy-transition/
  4. https://energyinnovation.org/2020/03/17/how-much-energy-do-data-centers-really-use/
  5. Improving Information Technology Sustainability with Modern Tape Storage - Brad Johns Consulting, LLC – 2021