Friday, December 19, 2008

EMC Green strategy, sort of!

EMC’s corporate commitment to green IT and sound ecological practices are certainly to be commended. At last week's analyst briefing, Katherine Winkler, Sr. Director Corporate Sustainability, presented an impressive array of programs ranging from waste water recycling, on-site renewable energy generation, e-waste, and hazardous materials to green packaging concepts.
However, there was no or very little emphasis on what EMC is doing to engineer efficiency into its storage products. Yes, EMC has drive spin down on some products (although so far that capability is limited to EDL and is not widely usable). EMC placed no emphasis on the most basic of engineering concepts such as using highly efficient power supplies and adaptive cooling techniques.
In fairness, most storage suppliers today are not using highly efficient power supplies but some like Nexsan, Verari and Xyratex are leading the way. EMC have announced adaptive cooling with the new CX4 and it's probably a reasonable bet that this technology will find its way to both DMX and Celerra products eventually. It's also reasonable to assume that EMC engineers are committed to fundamental efficiency designs and it's probable that EMC's internal IT department, like every other IT department, is applying green thinking.
Here's the point: We expect EMC, as the clear storage leader to take a leadership role in innovative green technologies and as a premier product company, highlight its product design innovations at the annual analyst event. We have an expectation of high performance from EMC in all significant areas but feel that EMC is not living up to its brand promise with this one.
To answer the growing demand for increased energy efficient solutions, EMC has elected to promote a high level conservation approach typified by power-aware information management; a translation would be, understand your data and its impact on power, and move or manipulate the data to gain power efficiency. Virtualization, consolidation, archiving, de-duplication, tiering, and automation are the recommendations that EMC are offering in response to power conservation.
Nothing is wrong with these resource and data management techniques; quite the contrary they can be very effective. However, a reasonable skeptic wonders are these the shills that enable EMC to camouflage excessive power consumption in its storage products? The lack of a highly visible and meaningful commitment to drive energy efficiencies at the most basic product level would be a significant failure on the part of the world's number one supplier of data storage hardware. It was missing from the conversation in Hopkinton and needs to be placed on the front burner in our view.
I would suggest it time for Joe Tucci to unequivocally demonstrate EMC's commitment to improve energy efficiency across their product spectrum, including unveiling the basic engineering innovations already implemented and their “green” innovation roadmap.
The only folks that can make that happen are its customers. EMC expressed a credible commitment to “The Total Customer Experience” at the meeting and was rightly proud of its success to date. If customers push back and influence this metric, positive action will result. Remember lower energy consumption equates to lower operating expenses and TCO.

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