Intelligent Power Management (IPM) and second generation MAID 2.0 on the rise

September 3, 2008 – 10:46 am

Storage I/O trends

In case you missed it today, Adaptec announced that they are the 1st vendor “This Week” to add support for Intelligent Power Management (IPM) to their storage systems. Adaptec joins a growing list of vendors who are deploying, or, who are program announcing some variation of IPM and second generation MAID 2.0 ability including support for different types of tiered disk drives including various combinations of Fibre Channel and SAS as well as SATA.

As a quick refresh, Massive or Monolithic Arrays of Idle or Inactive Disks (MAID) was popularized by 1st generation MAID vendor Copan who spins down disk drives to avoid energy usage. One of the challenges with 1st generation MAID is the poor performance by being able to only have at most 25% of the disk drives spinning at any time to transfer data when needed.

This is a balancing act between achieving energy avoidance and associated benefits vs. maintaining performance to move data when needed particularly for large restoration to support BC/DR or other purposes. Granted, 1st generation MAID systems like those from Copan while positioned as alternatives to high-performance disk storage systems to amplify potential energy savings on one hand, or, to put as an alternative to magnetic tape by providing random restore capability. The reality is that 1st generation MAID systems are finding their niche not for on-line primary or even on-line secondary storage, nor as a direct replacement for tape or even disk based libraries to support large-scale BC/DR, rather, in a sweet spot between secondary and near-line disk libraries and virtual tape libraries with a target application of very infrequently accessed of data.

Second generation MAID, aka MAID 2.0 is an evolution of the general technologies and capabilities extending functionality and flexibility while addressing quality of service (QoS), performance, availability, capacity and energy consumption using IPM also known as Adaptive Power Management (APM), dynamic bandwidth switching or scaling (DBS) among other names. The basic premise is to add flexibility building on 1st generation characteristics including data protection, resiliency and pro-active part or drive monitoring. Another basic premise of IPM. and MAID 2.0. solutions is to allow the performance and subsequent energy usage to vary, which is to cut the amount of performance and energy usage during in-active times, yet, when data needs to be accessed, to allow full performance without penalties for energy savings.

Second generation MAID solutions can be characterized by multiple power saving modes as well as flexible performance to adjust to changing workload and application needs. Another characteristic is the ability to work across different types of disk drives including Fibre Channel, SAS and SATA as opposed to only SATA drives found in 1st generation solutions as well as for the IPM or MAID 2.0 functionality to exist in a standard storage system or array instead of in a purpose-built dedicated storage system. Other capabilities include support for more granular power settings down to a RAID group or LUN level instead of across an entire array or storage system as well as support for different RAID levels among other features.

Examples of vendors who have either announced product or made statements of direction with regard to MAID 2.0 and IPM enabled storage systems include:

Adaptec (Today), Datadirect, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS, HGST (Hitachi Disk Drives), NEC, Nexsan, and Xyratex among others on a growing list of solutions.

For applications and data storage needs that need good performance and QoS over a range of changing usage conditions to balance good performance when needed to efficiently get work done to boost productivity, while saving or avoiding energy when little or no work needs to be done, take a look at current and emerging IPM and MAID 2.0 enabled storage systems as part of a tiered storage strategy to discuss power, cooling, floor-space and EHS (PCFE) related issues.

To learn more, check out the StorageIO Industry Trends and Perspective white paper Intelligent Power Management (IPM) and MAID 2.0 and visit well as

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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