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Just saw an interesting article in Enterprise Strategies about the use of magnetic tape as an energy-efficient storage solution. In “Tape’s Role in the Green Data Center,” Mark Ferelli discusses how tape technology is making a comeback by helping to keep the data center green as utility bills rise. He explains:

The efficient use of disk can help with data center greening when a user reads and writes to the densest possible disk array to ensure capacity is maximized and more disk is not bought unnecessarily.

In archiving, on the other hand, the greenest option is tape, which uses less power and produces a lower heat output. This not only eases the bite of the utility bill but places less strain on HVAC systems. In contrast, the case can be made that using disk for archiving does more harm since disks that spin constantly use much more power and generate more heat.

Ferelli also takes a look at alternative power and cooling solutions, such as MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) storage arrays, in comparison with tape-based storage.

What’s been your experience with energy-efficient storage technology? Do tape-based systems offer better power savings versus disk-based solutions?

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