Green Computing

Imagine the day when we look back and laugh that we measured the performance and speed of hard drives by how fast their platters were spinning. Boasting of a RAID array composed of 15K SAS drives will seem ludicrous.

Prices of solid state components continue to drop. For example, a $250GB SATA II SSD hard drive can be had for about $800 at newegg. Yes, this is much more expensive than a standard platter-based hard drive for $50 at tigerdirect, but this is really comparing apples and oranges. The common element is that these devices are both bulk secondary storage (RAM is primary storage, although we might have to redefine the entire classification of memory because CPUs increasing have so much more memory than their ancestors that we might want to call CPU memory as 'primary', RAM as 'secondary', bulk storage as 'tertiary' and offline backup as 'quarnary' - but that is a different discussion).

Additionally, these devices behave differently. Modern operating systems are implicitly geared to handle work with a platter-based bulk storage system. Their filesystem modules think in terms of blocking size and read/write patterns for platters to spin around. New work needs to be done to optimize systems for solid state solutions. The benefits go beyond just being 'green'. That is, in addition to the reduction in power requirements and hence a lower monthly electric bill, these systems have better shock resistance, less latency, and best of all - no moving parts.

It is clear that motors and mechanical read/write heads are going the way of dinosaurs. The transition will not be quick, but it is inevitable. Continue price reductions of platter-based hard drives are trying to extend the adoption process, but the benefits of solid state devices will overwhelm the older technology.

And, we get green along the way.

Now, if only we could make a CPU that didn't heat up like a hotplate, we could finally stop building datacenters in walk-in freezers. Speaking of which, I need to step out and get a hot cup of coffee and warm up a little. Brrrr. Going green good.


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