RESEARCH & RESOURCES

LESSON - Data Warehouse Appliances Help Tackle the Data Center Power Crisis

By Phil Francisco, Director of Product Marketing, Netezza Corporation

Increasing power costs and increasingly constrained power availability are prompting many companies to reexamine their IT strategies and budgets. Companies are facing a power dilemma. Do they scale back growth plans, pay the cost of building an additional facility, or relocate the data center where costs are lower?

Smaller ... Faster ... Hotter

Data center servers used for general-purpose computing are dominated by Intel/AMD, or x86, architectures. This chip technology is at the heart of blade servers and rack servers. including those used in other data warehouse systems.and contains features designed to improve performance for general- purpose computing. But the increasing data volumes and performance demands of data warehousing are putting the CPU under tremendous strain. CPU designs based on x86 architectures are moving more data through smaller components at faster speeds than ever before. With so much processing activity and input/output traffic condensed into a very small space, the devices produce much more heat, and require significantly more cooling, than their predecessors of only a few years ago.

Green and Greener

The industry is responding to this in several ways. Chip manufacturers are announcing CPUs that deliver higher performance than previous top-of-the-line chips, yet draw less power. Industry consultants and experts abound with advice on how best to cool the data center or improve its the energy efficiency.

But for data warehousing, greater energy and space efficiency has already arrived in the form of a data warehouse appliance.the Netezza Performance Server (NPS) system. The NPS system is built specifically for high-performance data warehousing, while consuming significantly less power and generating less heat than other solutions. Netezza's architecture uses intelligent storage nodes to process data as it streams off the disk, increasing performance. Each of these nodes uses an embedded PowerPC chip that consumes 4.5 watts of power (compared to 70 or more watts in x86-based systems), reducing the power typically required by other data warehouse solutions. The architecture of Netezza's data warehouse appliance.rather than expensive components. makes the difference.

Customers process massive queries in significantly shorter periods of time, with much lower electricity consumption and minimal space requirements that translate into lower cost of ownership.

Low Power, High Performance

Netezza's architecture takes a different approach to processing queries than architectures developed for general- purpose computing. This not only provides performance gains; it also lowers power consumption and heat.

Unlike many traditional data warehousing systems, Netezza's asymmetric massively parallel processing (AMPP) architecture is built for streaming processing of data. The system's architectural approach uses commodity field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to do the bulk of the data filtering, with an embedded PowerPC chip handling the remainder. The AMPP architecture, rather than expensive components, provides the performance difference.along with substantial energy savings.

The Energy-Efficient Data Warehouse

The Netezza data warehouse appliance, with streaming processing on its energy-efficient intelligent storage nodes, consumes a fraction of the power required by systems based on other leading processors and general computing architectures. Customers process massive queries in significantly shorter periods of time, with much lower electricity consumption and minimal space requirements that translate into lower cost of ownership.

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