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By 2013 power savings thanks to SSDs will amount to 167,000 Mwh

The SSD for consumers still makes little sense when looking at the performance-to-price ratio. SSDs look completely different to enterprise users though with massive power savings and significant performance improvements that make the investment worth the money for many enterprise users.

EWeek reports that as more datacenters adopt SSDs to replace high-end and fast spinning enterprise level HDDs, the massive power savings that were predicted are starting to become a reality. While some of the power saving promises are coming true now, the real benefits are still a few years down the road when the SSD is in broader use in the data center setting around the country.

Research firm iSuppli issued a report on the potential of SSDs this month and according to the report, the deployment of SSDs may allow the world's data centers to slash energy consumption by 166,643-megawatt hours from 2008 to 2013.

It's hard to understand exactly how much power 166,643-megawatt hours is, however. EWeek reports that amount of power is slightly more than the total yearly energy production of the African nation of Gambia. The power savings in datacenters moving to SSDs is expected to rise by 58,000 Mwh by 2013. In 2008, the savings in Mwh from moving to SSDs was only about 7,000 Mwh.

iSuppli analyst Krishna Chander wrote in the report, "SSDs potentially could replace 10 percent of the high-end and high-RPM hard disk drives used in data centers that are 'short stroked' [used for rapid reads and writes of transaction data coming into these drives at fast speeds], rather for storage capacity."

Chandler continued saying, "Each of these 15,000 RPM serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives draws about 14 watts during [a normal] day. SSDs, on the other hand, draw about half the power of these HDDs, at an estimated 7 watts. A 50 percent savings in power consumption is a noticeable improvement, so even a small penetration of SSDs in enterprise data centers could result in massive power savings."

Many analysts think that a conservative estimate for the number of data centers that will move to SSDs over the next four years is 10%. Some analysts think that the number of data centers that will move to SSDs will be significantly higher than 10% with increased pressure to save money on power costs and to go green. These analysts believe that by 2013, the migration from HDDs to SSDs in data centers could be as high as 20 to 40% of all data centers, greatly increasing the amount of power saved. The adoption rate of SSDs will also be helped as SSD prices drop. Intel reduced the price of some of its SSDs late last month.

Data centers in America draw huge amounts of power. According to the EnergyStar program run by the EPA, data centers in America use 2% of all power produced in the country. By comparison, the amount of power for all TVs plugged into the electrical network combined amounts to 1.5% of the power generated in the country each year.

Another big reason for the push to SSDs for data centers is that the amount of power produced in America today only barely meets the needs. More and more devices are being plugged in and power shortages will become much more common around the country. Power demand is expected to grow by 26% during the next 20 years.

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Indirect Benefits.
By Xerstead on 5/7/2009 1:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
As these devices are consuming far less power and with no moving parts, I'd expect them to produce far less heat than standard HDDs. With less heat being produced less cooling/air-con/refrigeration will be required to keep them cool. Resulting in lower energy bills for the user.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Creig on 5/7/2009 1:19:03 PM , Rating: 4
Unfortunately, the price difference between comparable sized SSDs and traditional hard drives more than offsets any possible savings realized through reduced energy consumption.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By VaultDweller on 5/7/2009 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 3
Not necessarily true for data centers.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Doormat on 5/7/2009 1:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you're short stroking 15,000RPM drives to boost transfer speeds you're cutting down the storage capacity of that drive, so the costs are closer than you might figure on first inspection.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By therealnickdanger on 5/7/2009 3:04:06 PM , Rating: 3
SSDs don't really output that much less heat than HDDs, it's really an overhyped benefit. The power savings are also not all that dramatic. You can check out reviews on Anandtech for details. But, saving a little bit over and over among millions of users will definitely make an impact.

I see the real "energy saving" coming from people being able to do more per Watt. SSDs offer insane speed boosts for everyday usage scenarios. People will simply be able to do more, faster. Even if power consumption was constant, that's still a benefit.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By mckirkus on 5/7/2009 9:06:34 PM , Rating: 3
One Intel SLC SSD has the same amount of IOPS as a half dozen short stroked 15k RPM drives in a RAID array. So a 1 to 1 comparison isn't really valid when you're looking at servers.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By nodak on 5/8/2009 11:04:49 AM , Rating: 3
Quick thermodynamics lesson: power in = power out.
Since drives do not produce any net increase in potential energy, nor do they emit large quantities of light or sound energy, all of the energy they consume is emitted as heat.
Thus, if an SSD consumes half as much power as an HDD, it emits half as much heat.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By afkrotch on 5/8/2009 4:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'd compare them to a 2.5" hdd though, as they are the same size. They also don't use 1/2 as much power either. Of course, the performance of an SSD is way above that of a 2.5" hdd.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Spoelie on 5/10/2009 4:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, you're assuming power-in only gets converted to heat.

Since an SSD has no moving parts, the energy it consumes is used to move electrons about and mostly transforms into heat, that part is true.

A HDD however has platters moving at 15k rpm, heads constantly moving over those platters. A large part of the electricity gets converted to kinetic energy, not heat.

As such, it is entirely possible for a HDD to consume more energy than a SSD while emitting less heat.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By nodak on 5/10/2009 5:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yet all of that kinetic energy is converted to heat when the drive slows down.

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