Nikkei Electronics Asia, May 8, 2009 15:21

The use of solid-state drives (SSD) could allow the world’s data centers to reduce their cumulative electricity consumption by 166,643MWH from 2008 to 2013, according to iSuppli Corp. This amounts to slightly more than the total electricity generation of the nation of Gambia for the entire year of 2006, according to statistics from the US Government’s Energy Information Administration.

The energy savings from using SSDs in this application are expected to rise to 57,564MWH by 2013, up from 6,986MWH in 2008, a total of 166,643MWH for the entire six-year period.

SSDs are devices that employ NAND-type Flash memory chips for data storage. Although they are more expensive per gigabyte of storage, SSDs use much less energy than hard disk drives (HDD), making them an attractive replacement for HDDs in some applications.

“SSDs potentially could replace 10% of the high-end and high-RPM hard disk drives (HDD) used in data centers that are ‘short stroked,’ i.e. they are used for very rapid reads and writes of transaction data coming into these drives at fast speeds, rather than for storage capacity,” explained Krishna Chander, senior analyst for storage systems at iSuppli.

“Each of these 15,000 RPM Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) drives draws about 14W during the day. SSDs, on the other hand, draw about half the power of these HDDs, at an estimated 7W. A 50% savings in power consumption is a noticeable improvement, so even a small penetration of SSDs in enterprise data centers could result in massive power savings.”

However, these short-stroked HDDs represent only about 5% of the total hard drives set to be shipped worldwide during the period from 2008 to 2013. “If the storage market completely eschews rotating mechanical media like HDDs in favor of SSDs, the projected energy savings could jump to 20 times the level described in iSuppli’s forecast during the period from 2008 to 2013,” Chander noted. “SSDs’ entry into the enterprise data centers is a boon for energy consumption and savings when these SSDs replace select short-stroked hard drives in the not-too-distant future.”

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