Sustainable software drives efficiency to power green data centers

Today, nearly 50% of a data center’s overall power demand is consumed by data storage equipment of all types. Data is growing rapidly, by nearly 20% per year driving a larger storage footprint in the data center and increasing the quantity of data stored in cloud repositories. With that expanding data footprint comes the need for more floor space, more power, and more cooling.

That’s why CxOs are looking for more energy-efficient platforms not only to save on costs but to reduce their carbon footprint. A company’s impact on the environment is a factor in buying decisions. As reported by Forbes, 64% of CEOs are advancing carbon neutral business models today, according to Peter Lacey, Accenture’s global sustainability lead.

Qumulo Core file data platform—the software underlying Qumulo Server Q and Cloud Q is purpose-built to extract maximum performance from the hardware that runs it—whether in a data center or in the cloud. In this article, you’ll learn how Qumulo Core software makes possible sustainable data storage that yields top performance and energy savings.

Turn a Green Leaf: How to Run High-Performance Workloads with a Small Energy Footprint

data center sustainability begins with efficient software

1. Sustainability begins with an efficient software

A key part of Qumulo’s power efficiency begins with our advanced software architecture, designed to deliver high performance, sustainably. This is the foundation we build on which determines how efficient our software can be. Others may try to “bolt on” efficiency to their architectures after the fact, but if it’s not built into the core from the start, they won’t succeed.

Qumulo Core, the foundation of our file system drives efficiency in three ways:

Efficient storage of all files. Our architecture stores files in 4K blocks ensuring that files consume only the resources on-disk they truly need. Qumulo can store files up to 3.5x as efficiently as legacy storage competitors. This is true regardless of whether a cluster is filled with billions of very small files, filled with enormous files (Qumulo Core supports individual files up to 9 exabytes in size each), or anywhere in between. Efficient use of storage media means customers can fit more files on Qumulo than other systems with the same raw capacity. This means smaller clusters with fewer nodes are possible, which in turn means lower energy consumption.

Very large capacity, low computational overhead. Second, Qumulo Core architecture allows clusters to grow very large in capacity and performance while the computational overhead to manage the cluster itself remains very modest. This is due to our B-tree architecture and a lot of advanced mathematics, frankly, but the result is efficient use of cluster resources meaning less energy consumption, less heat, and the majority of performance is dedicated to user workloads, not system tasks.

100% usable capacity. Finally, Qumulo systems can run at or near 100% usable capacity with no performance penalty, no fragmentation, and no risk of reliability—whether for a short period or forever. This is in stark contrast to competing platforms that recommend a wide margin of space be reserved to prevent performance slowdowns and reliability problems (up to 30% on some systems). For enterprises, the ability to leverage 100% of usable capacity negates wasteful over-provisioning. A right-sized cluster that offers lower upfront costs and far lower operating costs over the long term, yields energy savings.

All of this adds up to a fast system that consumes less energy resulting in higher performance and energy savings in the same energy “envelope” as competitors.

green data center architecture

2. Qumulo Core software is optimized to take on the densest storage media the moment it hits the market

Qumulo Core software architecture—and our agile development process—go hand in hand ensuring Qumulo Core supports the latest, densest media from manufacturers and OEMs as soon as it is available. Qumulo Certified OEMs ship denser nodes up to 12 months sooner than competitors can. What’s more, Qumulo Dynamic Scale—a data service of Qumulo Core—allows customers to add new node types to existing clusters, taking advantage of increased density.

  • Denser nodes mean more capacity in the same (or often smaller) energy envelope, yielding efficiency and energy savings
  • Generous DRAM and SSD/HDD ratios in our hybrids reduce energy consumption further through intelligent ML caching

sustainable software efficiency in green data centers

3. A hybrid-cloud strategy makes it easier for enterprises to move to the cloud

Sustainability is an outcome of the shift from onsite data centers to cloud computing, which can provide better resource sharing to reduce the overall carbon footprint by way of dynamic multi-tenant coordination for sustainable colocated data centers.

Qumulo supports cloud computing scenarios to reduce data center ‘sprawl’ and leverage cloud efficiencies. Our sustainable software supports infrastructure on-premises and in public clouds enabling hybrid-cloud strategies. Enterprises can burst to the cloud, or simply move a subset of their data there to leverage cloud-native services, apps and storage. This reduces the cost of buying and maintaining hardware in your own data center and enables users to:

  • Migrate to the cloud without needing to refactor applications or workflows
  • Mobilize data to and from Amazon S3 using built-in data services that come standard in the Qumulo Core file data platform
  • Right-size cloud workloads for high-performance use case versus provisioning for peak, and add capacity as needed
4. Sustainable software optimization improves PUE of fixed hardware

Our engineering team is constantly looking for ways to get more performance from fixed hardware assets so enterprises can improve power usage effectiveness (PUE). Qumulo Core software is optimized to read large chunks from HDD and small chunks from SSD and even smaller from RAM to yield greater efficiency.

Delivering more performance within the same power envelope reduces the need for wasteful over-provisioning. And, when new hardware or cloud instance types are available, Qumulo software is optimized for quick adoption. For example:

  • Our continuous deployment model ensures each incremental Qumulo software release delivers value to all platforms, even our earliest platforms that are still in service
  • Enterprises generally see an increase in performance even as we add new features
  • Qumulo software is optimized to access HDD as little as possible and dynamically manage CPU energy usage to improve PUE
5. Last but not least, an exceptionally long service life is key to sustainability

From a conservation perspective, scrapping and replacing fixed assets every few years is costly and wasteful. That’s why Qumulo does not believe in ‘forklift’ upgrades—which is to say that we are software defined and not dependent on hardware sales. That makes Qumulo different. With 100% of hardware models still supported and the longest running cluster at 6+ years, enterprises can:

  • Keep using existing models with support for the earliest models still in service
  • Add new models as needed for PUE and increased density and performance

Qumulo delivers sustainability through software innovation

When your high-performance workloads are supported by a powerful and efficient file system that runs on any infrastructure, you’re running sustainably by design. Every release of Qumulo’s file storage software aims to optimize power, capacity efficiency, and compute efficiency on the hardware, private, and public clouds you choose.

Four Quadrants. Four Years. One Position.

Four Quadrants. Four Years. One Position.

Learn why Qumulo was named a 4 time Leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™.

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