What is in this article?:
Before continuing, let’s ask why wouldn’t a production facility just decide to store all of its data (video) onsite? After all, in-house is safe, accessible and controllable. But, cloud proponents say cloud storage is cheaper. Maybe not. Despite the dropping costs of MB/sq-mm of platter, servers remain expensive for numerous reasons.
“Maximum areal densities in hard disk drives (HDD) are expected to more than double during the fiveyear period from 2011 to 2016,” storage analyst Fang Zhang HIS predicts. “HDD areal densities measuring data-storage capacities are projected to climb to a maximum 1,800 Gigabits (Gb) per square inch per platter by 2016, up from 744Gb per square inch in 2011 …”
Storage will become less expensive per GB, but other environmental and workflow issues remain. So, realize that media storage cost calculations should involve more than just what it costs to buy some hard disks. There is the cost of the raw storage, then the installation and maintenance. Finally, there’s the cost of cooling.
Back to Google
All this fog means that real storage costs are difficult to calculate. While the stats promoted by Google sound impressive, Raftery notes a few holes in Google’s efficiency claims. Raftery points out that anyone replacing legacy servers with newer technology would see similar performance improvements. Second, he urges engineers to consider also the cradle-to-cradle factors in server manufacturing. Manufacturing creates its own set of carbon emissions so just plugging in a newer superefficient server is not zero Co2. And, don’t forget the Co2 costs in building and operating an Exabyte-sized storage facility.
As Raftery notes in Table 2, despite Google’s claim to be zero net emissions since 2007, Google’s new GSA server farm is less Co2 efficient than the old GSA facility. While Google’s servers do produce fewer Co2 emissions per year than did GSAs, (7.69 tons versus 4.75 tons). Google’s facilities appear to be more carbon intensive (14.5 tons versus 10.63 tons). (Source: http://greenmonk.net/2012/06/21/).
The bottom line is that there are many factors to consider before jumping into the cloud. As anyone who’s actually flown through a cloud knows, the ride is often bumpy.
—Brad Dick, editorial director