by Paul Kunert
In one of the more off-the-wall predictions for the storage market in 2008, IDC believes customers will increasingly demand partial hardware replacements to cut costs and up the ante on green initiatives.
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To date, the environmental debate in the industry has focused on power, cooling and the energy footprint of data centres — key considerations, but they do not represent the entire green ecosystem.
The analyst also expects the disposal of end-of-life technology to feature in vendor marketing. One example could be to identify components of a disk system that do not need to be replaced as often.
Claus Egge, programme director for European storage research at IDC, said chassis designs used to be tweaked from vendor to vendor but most had become standardised.
"Instead of replacing the whole disk array, customers may want to replace the components because that has to be more environmentally friendly," he told MicroScope.
The long-term goal for vendors, Egge added, will be to promote disk arrays that require partial refreshes with the RAM, CPU and HDD without swapping the enclosure, fan or power supply.
This process would not be technically difficult for a customer or reseller, said Egge, and would result "in cost savings for the customer and that is the main idea".
Vendors were moving from "big iron disk arrays" to the modular approach, according to Nigel Ghent, marketing director for the UK and Ireland at EMC. "It is a growing trend," he said.
"There are a number of benefits on top of the environmental ones… if we can utilise the same components or modules across the family of products, manufacturers can benefit from the economies of scale," he added.
Chris James, marketing director, EMEA, at Overland Data, said he could understand why customers might want to swap out certain components, but argued that technical advances meant it might be more efficient to do a total refresh.