Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Green Storage: MAID to Do More Than Just Spin Down

MAID technology still holds the key to Green Storage

The fundamental Green problem of all data centers is that they cost a fortune to power up, which in turn produces heat which then costs a fortune to cool down. Within this vicious circle a bastion was set up to counter this, namely ‘Green Storage', which has mostly taken shape in the form of virtualized storage, data deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, DC power and SSDs. Add to the circle power conservation techniques such as server virtualization and archiving onto nearline storage, and you have most companies claiming they are successfully moving towards being ‘Green'. Hence bring forth the proposition of MAID storage and many users would not see the need for it. Further reluctance towards the technology would also come from the fact that MAID has now somewhat tragically become synonymous with being merely a disk spin down technique, despite having the potential to be far more and concurrently bringing greater cost savings.

First coined around 2002, MAID (a massive array of idle disks) held a promise to only utilize 25% or less of its hard drives at any one time. As Green technology became fashionable, major storage vendors such as EMC, HDS, Fujitsu and NEC began incorporating MAID technology promising that drives could power down when they weren't in use, thus extending the lifecycle of cheap SATA drives and in turn reducing the costs of running the data center. But caught in the midst of being one of many features that the larger vendors were trumpeting, the development and progress of MAID failed to advance from its disk slowdown tag, leaving Data Center and Storage managers oblivious of its full potential. Furthermore MAID became associated with being a solution only suited for backups and archive applications as users were cautious of the longer access time that resulted as disks spun up after being idle.

Fast forward to 2010, with government regulations demanding more power savings, and the back of a year which saw data grow while budgets shrank, suddenly users are looking for further ways to maximize the efficiency of their data storage systems. Hence in a world where persistent data increases a hero in the vein of MAID may just be ideal.

To be frank, the detractors did have a point with the original MAID 1.0 concept which in essence was simply to stop spinning non-accessed disk drives. Also with a MAID LUN having to use an entire RAID group, the prospect of a user with less than a large amount of data meant an awful lot of wasted storage. Add in the scenario of data put on MAID that suddenly requires more user access and hence constant disk spin and the overall cost savings became miniscule. Therefore those that did go for MAID ended up utilizing the technology for situations where access requirements and data retrieval were not paramount, i.e. backup and archiving.

In retrospect what often gets overlooked is that even with tier 2 and tier 3 storage data only a fraction is frequently accessed therefore leaving MAID as a suitable counterpart to the less-active data sets. In conclusion the real crux of the matter is the potential access time overhead that occurs as disks have to be started up, which is a given when only one spin down level is available.

Now with updated ‘MAID 2.0' technologies such as AutoMAID from Nexsan, varying levels of disk-drive ‘spin down' are available which utilize LUN access history to adjust the MAID levels accordingly. With Level 0 you have hard drive full-spin mode, with full power consumption and the shortest data access time while Level 1 allows the unloading of disk read/write heads giving 15%-20% less than Level 0 in power usage and only a fraction of a second less in access time. Additionally you have Level 2, which not only unloads the disk heads but also slows the platters a further 30-50% from full speed, giving a 15 second range for access time on the initial I/O before being jolting up to full speed. Similar to MAID 1.0, Level 3 allows the disk platters to stop spinning; bringing power consumption down by 60%-70% with an access time of 30-45 seconds on the initial I/O. In a nutshell these various levels of MAID now open up the doors for the technology to be a viable option for both tier 2, 3 and 4 storage data without the apprehension of delayed access times.

Some companies have gone even further with the technology by adding the ability to dedupe and replicate data in its libraries. Thus users have the option to isolate drives from the MAID pool and dedicate others for cache, leaving the cache drives to continuously spin while simultaneously increasing the payback of deduplication. The possibilities for remote replication as well as policy-based tiering and migrations are obvious. An organization with a sound knowledge of their applications could make significant savings moving data off expensive tier 1 disks to a MAID technology that incorporates both deduplication and replication capabilities with minimum if any performance loss.

Moreover using MAID technology in a context where data becomes inactive during the night (user directories, CRM databases etc.), disks can easily be spun down when users leave their office. Saving on unnecessary spin cost and energy for numerous hours each evening, by also using an automated process for long periods of inactivity such as holiday periods, users would quickly increase energy savings as well as decrease man management costs.

No doubt that in the current mainstream MAID is still best suited for persistent data that's not static and depends largely upon accurate data classification practices. But once MAID 2 and its features of variable drive spin-down, deduplication and replication begin to get the attention they deserve, we may well see a ‘Green' solution which really does bring significant cost savings and energy savings. With the real ‘Green' concern of most IT Directors being that of the paper kind with Benjamin Franklin's face on, that attention may just occur sooner than we think.

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Never mind that we might not know what the future holds for cryptocurrencies and how much values will fluctuate or even how the process of mining a coin could cost as much as the value of the coin itself - cryptocurrency mining is a hot industry and shows no signs of slowing down. However, energy consumption to mine cryptocurrency is one of the biggest issues facing this industry. Burning huge amounts of electricity isn't incidental to cryptocurrency, it's basically embedded in the core of "mini...
The term "digital transformation" (DX) is being used by everyone for just about any company initiative that involves technology, the web, ecommerce, software, or even customer experience. While the term has certainly turned into a buzzword with a lot of hype, the transition to a more connected, digital world is real and comes with real challenges. In his opening keynote, Four Essentials To Become DX Hero Status Now, Jonathan Hoppe, Co-Founder and CTO of Total Uptime Technologies, shared that ...
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...