SOURCE: The StorageIO Group

January 23, 2008 08:00 ET

StorageIO Outlines Intelligent Power Management and MAID 2.0 Storage Techniques, Advocates New Technologies to Address Modern Data Center Energy Concerns

Intelligent Power Management and MAID 2.0 Equal Energy Efficiency Without Compromising Performance

STILLWATER, MN--(Marketwire - January 23, 2008) - The StorageIO Group, a leading data storage industry research analyst firm, today outlined Intelligent Power Management (IPM) and MAID 2.0, new next-generation storage techniques that provide high energy efficiency along with the highest levels of performance in storing and rapidly accessing enterprise data.

The characteristics of IPM and MAID 2.0 mark a significant evolution beyond traditional MAID (Massive/Monolithic Array of Idle Disks), the data storage technology that provides energy savings by putting unused disks into standby mode, keeping them ready for use but not requiring full power usage when they are not being accessed. IPM aligns variable performance and energy savings to different applications and data on a granular basis across different types of storage media and systems. These include general purpose on-line or primary as well as near-line storage systems. MAID 2.0, or second generation MAID, is an example of variable power and energy savings that can be used to avoid application performance bottlenecks, aligning the right level of performance and energy savings when and where needed.

First-generation MAID technology delivered marked savings in energy consumption by avoiding energy usage, but in some cases has been accompanied by a significant drop in performance. MAID 2.0 implementing IPM addresses those concerns, according to Greg Schulz, founder and chief analyst of StorageIO.

"As an industry, we are seeing storage technologies shift from energy avoidance to more intelligent and effective use of energy combined with best practices ultimately leading to more energy efficient data canters," Schulz said. "IPM approaches including MAID 2.0 technology provide great solutions for today's increasingly energy conscious customers without any compromises in performance. We've reached the point where it's imperative that we aggressively adopt storage technologies that address both sides of this equation, that is, balancing performance, availability, capacity and energy consumption in a more flexible and scalable manner to meet different application service level requirements."

American data centers alone consumed 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2006 at a cost of about $4.5 billion. Without changes in electricity consumption and improved efficiency, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that data centers will consume more than 100 billion kilowatt hours by 2011, further stressing an already strained national electric grid and driving energy costs even higher.

Spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) and their enclosures account for up to 75 percent of the power usage in commonly deployed storage solutions, according to StorageIO's research. First-generation MAID solutions have been rather binary, either the HDDs are on or they are off, not leaving a lot of flexibility to address different application service requirements.

Schulz mentioned that some MAID vendors have distanced themselves from using the term MAID to avoid negative performance implications associated with first generation MAID. MAID technology is evolving and maturating similar to how early generation RAID systems did 10-15 years ago. There is a shift from purpose-built limited MAID level functionality to more flexible and adaptable multiple MAID level storage solutions taking place. These next-generation solutions offer variable energy savings based on specific application and data needs over different types of HDDs on a more granular basis. This approach will help close the gap between a solution's energy efficiency capabilities and the diverse and variable performance needs of a customer's applications.

MAID 2.0 leverages IPM technology to align storage performance and variable energy consumption to match the applicable level of service being supported. For example, a storage system can implement MAID Level-0 (no real energy savings, no impact on performance) for active data. For less active data, an administrator can choose a user-selectable setting to transition the storage system or some smaller subset to MAID Level-1, which reduces power consumption by retracting HDD read/write heads. For even better power savings, HDDs, RAID groups or other units of storage granularity can be put into MAID Level-2 mode, which reduces the speed of the drive platters. The best energy savings are achieved by MAID Level-3, which puts the storage system or some smaller granularity of the storage into a suspended standby mode or powers it down completely.

Schulz sees an industry shift from dedicated MAID platforms to primary and secondary storage systems implementing intelligent power management and second generation MAID 2.0. A clear industry trend is a shift from electrical power energy avoidance to intelligent and more effective power management combined with best practices, data footprint reduction including archiving, compression and de-duplication among other technologies and best practices to lead to more energy efficient IT data canters.

The StorageIO Group explores these issues in detail in two new Industry Trends and Perspectives white papers entitled, "MAID 2.0: Energy Savings without Performance Compromises" and "The Many Faces of MAID Storage Technology." These and other Industry Trends and Perspectives white papers addressing power, cooling, floor space and green storage related topics including "Business Benefits of Data Footprint Reduction" and "Achieving Energy Efficiency using FLASH SSD" are available for download at

About The StorageIO Group

The StorageIO Group ( is a technology analyst firm providing services to technology vendors, end users and the industry at large. The firm was founded by storage veteran, author and industry analyst Greg Schulz, whose expertise encompasses Unix, Windows, Mainframe, OpenVMS and other hardware, network, and software environments in IT data centers including at an electrical power generating and transmission utility, as a vendor and as an industry analyst. StorageIO is also creator and sponsor of the power, cooling, environmental and green storage and IT information portal

Contact Information

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    Greg Schulz
    Founder and Chief Analyst
    The StorageIO Group