Green storage solutions for SMBs part 2

Why the SMB sector is set to lead the Green storage revolution

In part two of this feature Computerworld Australia examines the Green messaging by the major vendors, including product effectiveness and competitive strategy.

Missed part one? Read Green storage solutions for SMBs part 1.

Dell

Dell has a strong overall green messaging strategy which covers packaging, corporate responsibility and sustainable product components. Gartner analyst Phil Sargeant said the company is focusing its green value proposition on Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) technology. He said this reflects the company’s strong positioning in virtualization following its acquisition of EqualLogic in 2008.

In addition to its DX Object Storage platform Dell has storage consulting services. Dell’s acquisition of Ocarina Networks provided the company with compression technology which it plans to integrate across its disk arrays.

EMC

When it comes to competing in the area of sustainability, EMC’s midrange CLARiiON and Celerra systems and high-end Symmetrix product line are strongly positioned to provide energy efficiency and green enabling technologies such as thin provisioning, storage virtualization and MAID. The company also has a strong value proposition around storage tiering with its Fully Automated Storage Tiering, which enables sub-logical-unit-number tiering.

EMC can also provide SSD technologies at low price points as a result if its long standing partnership with STEC. While EMC has historically focused on the high end of the market, Sargeant said the company has recently re- directed its messaging to the midmarket with new hardware boxes and software solutions such as Unisphere for unified NAS/SAN environments.

The company has a corporate commitment toward efficiency within its own data centres and provides consulting services around Green IT. “The company has achieved $7.5 million in energy savings over five years through server and storage consolidation,” Sargeant said.

“EMC is clearly pitching itself as the storage vendor with the most complete stack. In addition to its recent spree of acquisitions the vendor has several partnerships of note including Cisco and VMWare.” In 2010 EMC increased its focus on SMBs announcing several new product releases directly focused on the smaller end of town.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu’s entire ETERNUS product line is strongly positioned from a Green and efficiency perspective. Sargeant said the vendor’s entire range features energy efficiency as a key component. The company began a green product labelling program in 2009 that was extended to its PRIMERGY servers and storage products last year.

Sargeant said the vendor’s labelling program is one component of Fujitsu’s overall Stage VI Environmental Protection Program which is a long term initiative driving it’s overall carbon positive strategy.

“Being a smaller vendor it is clear Fujitsu is using its Green friendly messaging to garner market share in a space dominated by large vendors,” he said. “On the whole Fujitsu strives very hard to be seen as a thought leader and to drive home the sustainability message.”

Last year Fujitsu also announced Green consulting services.

“Fujitsu is the only vendor that has a self-imposed green ranking/labelling strategy for its storage products,” Sargeant said.

Hitachi Data Systems

Last year HDS launched its Virtual Storage Platform which boasts significant cost and energy savings and is in addition to the company’s Unified Computing Platform. Sargeant said HDS has a strong, clearly articulated messaging strategy around green storage.

“The focus at Hitachi seems to be on messaging sustainability rather than just green technology,” he said.

HDS also has a services offering around sustainability and the company also conforms to internal environmental benchmarks. The vendor claims that its flagship virtual storage product can provide the largest amount of storage density per square foot of space compared with competing products by using 2.5 inch iSCSI drives and an enhanced backend interface.

HP

The storage component of HP’s green strategy is the StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array. HP also positions its tape technology as an energy efficient backup alternative to disk-based backups. Also, HP’s P400 virtual SAN appliance is strongly positioned to provide SMBs with an efficient, scalable, shared storage solution.

Sargeant said HP’s acquisition of 3PAR makes its green storage value proposition even stronger. He said the vendor’s storage platform provides high efficiency and utilization rates that bodes well for its Green messaging.

“HP’s market standing in the sustainable storage area will depend on how effectively it is able to integrate 3PAR’s technology into its StorageWorks portfolio and as well as its ability to extend the green storage value proposition to 3PAR customers,” he said.

“HP also has specialized services for measuring and deploying green data centres, including an SMB-specific program, which makes for a strong corporate green solutions portfolio.”

IBM

IBM’s products that are positioned for green/sustainability are: Storwize v7000, SAN Volume Controller and Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) for virtualization; DS8700 with Easy Tier for tiered storage, which leverages SSDs to improve performance; and ProtecTIER deduplication. IBM is also a strong player in the tape segment with LTO 5 capability and a large existing installed base.

IBM has acquired advanced data compression technology through its Storwize acquisition. Sargeant said IBM is also directing its messaging to the midmarket. He said despite all of the energy efficiency products IBM has across its product portfolio, the vendor doesn’t have a separate green storage strategy.

“Rather, it is a part of the overall green data centre messaging that is focused on improving efficiency and driving better utilization of data centre technologies,” Sargeant said. “However, IBM does have a specific SMB offering that deals with data growth and storage management problems.”

Sargeant said IBM’s strategy around green storage is markedly different from its competitors, in that it is viewed as a subset of its overall green data centre strategy.

“While this is understandable considering IBM’s size and diverse portfolio of data centre products, it is likely that competitive dynamics and customer buyng behaviour may, in the future, cause IBM to rethink its sustainability message around storage and switch to a more granular strategy.”

NetApp

NetApp;s FAS unified storage series delivers its green and efficiency message. The recently launched FlexPod modular data centre solution architecture, which comprises a refreshed set of FAS storage systems as well as SSDs, will bear the standard for NetApp’s sustainability strategy.

“The product and technology sets offered by NetApp are very specific, efficiency-oriented technologies,” Sargeant said. “Overall, the vendor’s green strategy is based on the concept of shared IT that enables optimum utilization of storage resources. NetApp’s strong parternships with VMWare and Cisco provide a fillip to its overall message by virtue of improved efficiency and integration with virtualization and networking technologies from those vendors.”

Sargeant said NetApp has a strong SMB presence and is claiming sustainability success in its own data centres. He said the vendor combines its deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and virtualization technologies with its overall corporate sustainability mandates to deliver a well-rounded green message.

Oracle-Sun

Oracle is positioning Sun’s StorageTek 7000 Unified Storage as an energy-efficient, green, storage array. Sun’s ZFS unified storage appliance product line is positioned for consolidation, cloud and virtualization appliations and ties in well with Oracle’s overall efficiency strategy. In addition, Oracle is one of the largest tape storage vendors in the market today.

Recently, Oracle launched the StorageTek VLE (virtual library extension) which adds a second layer of disk storage to its virtual tape library product. Sargeant said this significantly bolsters Oracle’s value proposition around energy-efficient storage. He said Oracle is also introducing green metrics in its vertical-specific software solutions and provides a Carbon Management Solution in conjunction with IBM.

“Since the Sun acquisition Oracle’s hardware strategy is still evolving,” Sargeant said. “However, Oracle’s storage products’ efficiency and utilization levels are high indicating that Oracle has a strong opportunity to capitalize on this and emerge as a leading green and sustainable storage vendor.”

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