Enabling the Energy Efficient Data Center (with Microsemi Adaptec SmartHBA Adapters)

According to IDC, the demand for storage has had annual growth rate of more than 50% in recent years. With this growth in storage demand, there is a corresponding increase in storage consumption.

Data centers have put a lot of effort into reducing power consumption for many years now. The reasons are many. Clearly saving money is a primary motivation but it is also the environmentally friendly thing to do. In addition, the supply constraints of the local power company may also be a factor in limiting growth of a data center and require data centers to take effective measures to manage power.

What might not be as obvious is that saving power in the IT equipment (the server, storage, networking, etc.) has a multiplicative effect that translates to an overall larger total power savings. A watt saved in the IT equipment also means a reduction in heat dissipated and thus a corresponding reduction in cooling requirements. It also means less wasted energy in power switchgear and in charging UPS batteries for backup power. Data center managers call this multiplier the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) which is defined as the ratio of electricity used by the total facility to that used by the IT equipment.

Microsemi designed its next generation of Smart storage products to enable data center managers to take a step forward in reducing power in the data center. Greater than a 40% reduction in power was achieved as compared to the previous generation of HBA and RAID adapters. This was accomplished in a number of ways.

First, this generation of products utilizes a 28nm semiconductor process technology. This cutting-edge process technology not only enables high performance but features low power consumption. It allowed the integration of what had been previously external components, such as multiple power regulators, reducing board space and making more efficient power usage.

Furthermore, innovative design techniques have been introduced to reduce power through the addition of new capabilities to manage the power of the adapter by setting power modes. These power modes make adjustments such as dynamically throttling the embedded processor and interface clock rates so that power consumption can be optimized for the work load demands of the server.

Smart adapters provide three power modes plus a Survival Mode. Maximum Performance (default) mode disables any savings options that affect performance. Minimum Power mode can be used where application system performance is less important than achieving maximum power savings. Balanced mode can be used to save power with minimal effects on performance. For large queue depths, this setting affects throughput by 10% or less. The Survival Mode allows the controller to throttle back dynamic power settings to their minimums when the temperature exceeds the threshold.

Small power savings add up in a hyperscale data center. Let’s look at a specific example. The Microsemi HBA 1100-8i has approximately 1.75 watt power savings per adapter as compared to a competitive solution. A hyperscale data center with 5000 servers and a typical total cost of power of $6/Watt per year can expect to save greater than $210,000 dollars in operating costs over a 4-year product cycle1. The actual cost savings will be even greater when the cost of cooling and power back up is considered.

Another way to look at power in the data canter is IO and bandwidth (BW) efficiency. As an example, the Microsemi SmartRAID 3154-16 is up to 50% more efficient than competitive solutions when measuring IOPS/watt or up to 35% and more efficient than competitive solutions when evaluating BW/watt. That means for the same power, the storage system can deliver more data and better meet the demand of applications.

For the data center manager looking find ways to save additional power, looking at the storage adapter will pay off. Microsemi Adaptec HBAs, SmartHBAs and SmartRAID storage solutions provide innovative and adaptable power management options. At the end of the day — Power Matters.TM

For more information on Smart storage adapters, please visit this page on our site. www.microsemi.com/smartstorage

Please connect with me on LinkedIn and also reach out to me with any questions or comments.

1 Estimated burdened cost of power used by Microsemi customers for their analysis.

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