Datacenter SSDs saving a country’s worth of power, sort of

El Segundo (CA) – Here is some news for datacenter managers to feel guilty. You really should be replacing all those hard drives with solid state drives (SSDs) much faster than you may do already. Not only would you be saving the (flash) economy, you would also be contributing to saving, over time, enough power to run an entire country. That is, of course, if we believe the numbers iSuppli has come up with.

Compared to an average power consumption of a regular 15K 3.5” HDD of about 14 watts, enterprise SSDs may consume only 7 watts or less, the market research firm stated.

iSuppli believes that roughly 10% of enterprise hard drives could be replaced with SSDs eventually. Assuming that value, the power savings will accumulate to almost 7000 MWH in 2008, to 11,000 MWH in 2009, to 20,590 MWH in 2010, to 29,141 MWH in 2011, to 41,355 MWH in 2012 and to 57,564 MWH in 2013, the market research firm expects. The bottom line over the next five years could be more than 166,000 MWH.

That is a substantial number and if you stretch the comparison enough, like iSuppli did, then you may find that this is enough to supply a country like Gambia, Maldives or Burundi with power for an entire year (based on a 2006 number). The company also said that if the datacenter market were to go to SSDs entirely, the savings could reach about 3.3 million MWH. That would be enough to power a country like Albania, Bolivia or Yemen.
Of course, if we are comparing apples to apples, and compare what the savings the use of SSDs deliver every year, based on iSuppli’s estimates, we would have to go down a further in the list. The estimated 2006 savings would satisfy only the world’s smallest countries such as Tuvalu. The 2013 estimate, however, would be enough to equalize the electricity use by countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Solon Islands or Tonga. Our own comparisons are based on this listing in Wikipedia.