1.020: how much does a "free" xiv array really cost?
The silence from IBM on their stealth XIV announcement this past week has been deafening. And I can assure you that IBM PR would be embarrassed to know how many people have read my XIV
post expose since I published it Tuesday afternoon. The traffic to my blog has been at an all-time high this week.
One reader picked up on the bullet about the power overhead of the XIV's one-size-fits-all 180 drive standard configuration, and he sent me the calculated annual costs for power and cooling of a single XIV frame (based on the specs posted by IBM).
This got me thinking. As many of you know, Moshe and his new-found IBM sales team have been visiting virtually the entire EMC customer base offering them "free" XIV systems for evaluation.
And I know that at least some of my readers have taken advantage of the free storage offer - it's hard to turn down "free" in today's economy.
But if you're one of them that did, you might want to sit down before I go on....
Oh, sorry - don't sit over there. That chair is for the EMC sales reps that jumped ship for XIV. Let's find you a more appropriate seat... over here in the corner looks better.
There now - are you comfortable?
Because what you probably didn't realize is that the "free" 180-drive XIV array that IBM is offering you to evaluate will actually cost your company more than $20,000.00 a year in electricity alone to operate and cool.
That's pretty outrageous for a measly 80TB of usable capacity, don't you think?
Thankfully, there aren't all that many of you that got sucked into this marketing ploy. And hey, it wasn't as Deceptively Delicious as Microsoft's Mojave stunt now, was it? I mean, the IBM rep informed you up front about the power costs, right?
And why the heck did TonyP bring Mojave up in his blog this week in the first place?
Wasn't there anything significant happening at IBM this week that he could blog about?
Did he too miss the XIV announcement, like the rest of IBM Marketing?
You want me to stop rambling for a minute while you run off to unplug that XIV space heater before your boss finds out you've been wasting so much money and energy?
No worries, I'll wait. Meet you back here after the break...
xiv proves that it isn't easy being green
OK, before we go on, I have to admit that I haven't personally measured the power utilization of an XIV v2 box from IBM, and that there are probably few, if any, IBM
customers prospects who have one of this new vintage XIV's running in their shop.
That said, IBM's posted materials describe the power requirements for the standard configuration XIV Storage System as follows:
Operating environmentTemperature: 10 to 35 degrees C Relative humidity: 25 to 80 percent Max wet bulb: 23 C Thermal dissipation: 26K BTU/hour Maximum power consumption in watts: 8.4 KW Sound Power, LwAu = 8.4 bels
At a cost of $0.15US per KWh, a system consuming 8.4KW/hr and dissipating 26K BTU/hr will cost somewhere between $20,021 and $21,807 to operate and cool in a reasonably efficient data center. And at only 80 TB usable, that works out to more than $250.00 per usable terabyte -- per year!
I'm reminded of The Inconvenient Truth of Al Gore's carbon footprint.
To put these costs in perspective, I created the following table comparing the annual power costs of the XIV SSv2 to various Symmetrix and CLARiiON configurations. All EMC configs include minimum required spare drives and overheads (vault space, etc), and all power requirements include both consumption + cooling costs, cooling costs calculated from rated BTUs dissipated (where available) or as approximately 1x the power consumed.
|System||Disk Configuration||Usable Capacity||Annual Power Cost @ $0.15/KWh||Annual Power Cost / Usable Terabyte|
|IBM XIV SSv2||180 1TB SATA XIV RAID X||80TBu||$20,021||$250.56/TBu|
|180 1TB SATA
|120 1TB SATA
RAID 5 (3+1)
|104 1TB SATA
RAID 6 (14+2)
|5 400GB FC
115 1TB SATA
RAID 5 (4+1)
|180 1TB SATA
RAID 5 (3+1)
174 1TB SATA
RAID 5 (4+1)
There are several interesting observations that can be made from this table. Obviously, IBM's XIV is the most power-hungry system in the bunch - by far - even compared the DMX4 using mirrored drives (2nd row down).
And since the EMC arrays all support RAID 5 and RAID 6 configurations, EMC customers can not only get the same usable capacity as the XIV using fewer drives (rows 3-5), the energy costs per usable terabyte is less than half that of the XIV!
Finally, as the last two rows show, both the DMX4 and CX4 can deliver more usable capacity using the same 180 disk drives as the XIV, while still using far less power!
And, as I pointed out before, if you choose to take advantage of IBM's innovative "capacity on demand" pricing strategy for the XIV, you'll perhaps save some money on the capacity that you're not using, but you'll still be paying the same electric bill for all 180 drives in the system!
so let's review
Combining the observations from my previous posts on XIV, Moshe has
built sold IBM a storage array that:
- looks a lot more like it was intended to compete with a 1999 Symmetrix 8000 series than against a 2008 Symmetrix DMX-4 (or even CLARiiON CX4, for that matter),
- delivers less than half the usable capacity of the drives a customer purchases,
runs with zero protection for cache against failures or errors,<corrected Aug 31, 2008>
mirrors write data over a measly 1Gb Ethernet interconnect to a second node
- uses that same 1Gb Ethernet interconnect to deliver data to 4Gb Fibre Channel hosts,
- is limited to the inherently slow read miss performance of 7200 rpm SATA disk drives
- has no long-distance asynchronous replication capability,
- offers no upgrade path to past or present customers,
- cannot even non-disruptively upgrade its own firmware,
- comes in 1 and only 1 capacity configuration,
- has zero track record running
mission-criticaltier 1 or 2 applications in production,
- and consumes more power per usable terabyte than any of the target competitive offerings from EMC!
Those are some pretty challenging facts for a new storage
wannabe product to overcome, if you ask me.
So the next time Moshe or your IBM rep drops by to offer you a "free" eval XIV unit, you should probably think twice before you accept. Otherwise, your boss might be putting YOU in the "special" chair when they get the electric bill!
And you know - IBM might want to stop calling this new system "XIV" altogether- and not just because the name isn't unique.
No, perhaps they should resort to calling it simply "Fourteen."
At least that way it would rhyme with green!