October 29, 2010 – Energy costs for the world’s data storage systems will level off in the coming years but then spike again because of ever expanding capacity needs, according to analysis from research firm International Data Corporation.

Calling it a “temporary plateau,” IDC researchers predict that the price of cooling enterprise storage systems will flatten around 2013 or 2014. After that, costs are expected to go back up after one-time savings and output reductions are bypassed by the growing amount of data. The estimate was part of a follow-up to a previous report on energy costs for data storage systems in light of the economic crisis that began in 2008.   

Interest and investment in systems to store more and more data has grown in the last few years, even with economic conditions bringing down IT budgets overall, IDC noted. Capacity shipments within external data storage systems increased 38 percent in 2009 from the previous year and transition to hard drive external storage grew by 10 percent over that same time frame, according to IDC.

Along with migration to smaller hard disk drives, factors that are expected to steady energy costs in a few years include greater utilization of existing storage capacity, the adoption of solid state drives, and other storage efficiency innovations like thin provisioning and data deduplication.

David Reinsel, IDC group vice president for storage systems, says that some information industries and business sizes have or will see bigger gains during the plateau.

“Definitely the larger the data center, the more it has to gain from efficiency strategies. Cloud data centers also benefit directly from having the most efficient running data centers,” Reinsel says.

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