Carbon tax may drive storage virtualization uptake: Hitachi

The IT company argues virtualization improves energy efficiency

The introduction of the new carbon tax on 1 July, 2012 may mean increased energy costs for the IT industry, but at least one storage virtualization vendor has been gearing up for a predicted increase in sales.

According to local findings from Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), storage virtualization has been used by its customers to consolidate their storage assets, which meant less energy was being used and carbon emissions were reduced.

HDS Australia and New Zealand chief technology officer, Adrian De Luca, told Computerworld Australia that the company already had an emissions strategy in place called “Cool Centre 50”, which included the reduction of carbon-based emissions during production and distribution by up to 50 per cent by 2012.

"Currently, over 50 per cent of the storage we sell within Australia is virtualization enabled,” De Luca said.

“As it stands, Australia is one of the few countries that has aggressively adopted virtualization technologies, not only in the deployment of servers but also storage.”

He also confirmed that some customers were approaching the vendor as they were "struggling" with provisioning power to data centres, particularly those who were expanding their capacity by over 100 per cent per year.

"The problem is they either have to be more efficient within their data centre or they have to move to a new location,” he said.

“One customer of ours in Queensland was iSeek, which invested $83.5 million in building a new data centre in Export Park and they have begun reporting lower emissions.”

De Luca was also positive about the carbon tax announcement, saying the IT industry should be undertaking initiatives to bring down CO2 emissions. He cited global research by the vendor's Japanese parent company, which found the technology sector was responsible for seven per cent of electricity consumed and data centre emissions can generate up to 19 per cent of the world’s atmospheric CO2.

“We believe that in addressing the holistic problem here, there is not going to be any one technology, such as solar power, that is going to dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuel–based energy production,” he said.

“However, anything that stimulates the industry towards putting additional research and development into progressing the development of non-fossil fuel-based projects can only be a good thing.”

For example, De Luca gave an example of a South Australian company that placed their data centre near a wind farm to utilise the generated energy.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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