#232 – Building Power-Efficient Storage Systems with Justin Emerson from Pure Storage (Sponsored)

Chris EvansAll-Flash, Guest Speakers, Pure Storage, Sponsored, Storage Unpacked Podcast

In this episode, Chris talks to Justin Emerson from Pure Storage about modern design considerations for power-efficient storage. The cost of powering data centres has increased massively over the last 12 months, driven by the global economy and recovery from COVID-19. At a component level, servers are increasing their power usage, with faster processors and memory, plus the use of power-hungry GPUs. By contrast, storage power demands have reduced, as flash takes over from HDDs. Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still considerations to make. Vendors such as Pure Storage have developed custom flash modules and introduced other design features to optimise on performance per watt, while deliver increasing densities. Justin explains how Pure has achieved this and what we should look out for in the future.

We discuss the Pure ESG report, which can be found here – https://www.purestorage.com/company/corporate-social-responsibility.html. Justin also mentions the Accelerate TechFest event on 8th June 2022, more details are available here – https://www.purestorage.com/accelerate.html.

Elapsed Time: 00:50:03


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:01:30 – Power costs are driving the need for efficiency
  • 00:02:30 – Power is the limiting factor on data centre design
  • 00:03:40 – Flash generations implicitly drive power efficiencies
  • 00:04:30 – Higher clock speeds drive higher power usage
  • 00:06:15 – What are the hyper-scalers doing with power efficiency?
  • 00:07:10 – Cooling is also a big efficiency factor
  • 00:08:05 – HDDs are still hugely relevant for hyper-scalers
  • 00:10:10 – Can businesses hedge power costs for their data centres?
  • 00:12:35 – If you’re in a co-lo, power costs could be unpredictable
  • 00:14:30 – In-data centre power management is creating challenges
  • 00:17:05 – Pure has released an ESG report including power efficiency
  • 00:18:35 – Product longevity is important to sustainability
  • 00:20:30 – Evergreen and product design allows Pure to reduce waste
  • 00:23:15 – What is DirectFlash?
  • 00:26:00 – Commodity drives have DRAM and make independent decisions
  • 00:28:05 – Couldn’t I just use the Ruler form factor?
  • 00:30:00 – FlashArray//C uses QLC – is this more power-efficient?
  • 00:33:42 – What software enhancements are used to increase efficiency?
  • 00:36:00 – Data reduction features need to balance write amplification with efficiency
  • 00:38:10 – How do end-users make decisions about picking the right products?
  • 00:40:15 – There are no recognised metrics for measuring storage power/performance efficiency
  • 00:44:30 – What future improvements should we expect?
  • 00:46:50 – Code and protocol efficiency will improve power usage
  • 00:48:15 – Wrap Up

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Justin’s Bio

Justin Emerson is a Technical Evangelist at Pure Storage focused on the FlashBlade product portfolio. He joined Pure in 2020 as a FlashBlade Data Architect for the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to that, he worked at storage-focused reseller partners for more than a decade.

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