Now that energy consumption is leaping towards the top of storage buyers' agenda, suppliers are presenting their products suffused with a warm and friendly green glow.

Here are three green points from OnStor:

1. ONStor's NAS gateways allow organisations to consolidate ten conventional servers to one of its boxes, 'dramatically reducing power consumption' from around 7,000 watts (for just ten 1U-high servers) to just 120 watts. That saves power, air conditioning, and space.

2. There are no batteries in the ONStor kit; none in the gateway and none in the storage. This eliminates the need to periodically replace and dispose of them.

3. ONStor's virtual servers enhance resource utilisation - with ONStor users never have the problem of one box running nearly idle while another unit must be added to accommodate new demands. Load can always be balanced on the fly across all devices.

It's all well and good although the battery point is perhaps not a strong one to make. I've had an HP guy tell me that HP is energy-efficient because it has sensors and software that can detect a hot spot in a datacentre and re-direct server apps to servers in cooler areas of the datacentre. That's impressive but is merely deckchair re-arranging on the Titanic.

HP is trying very hard to improve its green credentials. It's cut a deal with the cuddly World Wildlife Fund-US to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and use HP technology in conservation efforts around the world. It has given Pat Tiernan, HP's VP for corporate, social and environmental responsibility, something else to talk about after Pattigate: “We regard WWF as a worldwide leader in environmental conservation efforts and undertaking these projects with them as positive and innovative steps in HP’s longstanding commitment to global citizenship and the environment.

It's hard not to be cynical about this. Take printer cartridge recycling. In an HP press reliease about this we read "From February to June 2005, the (Cartridges for Dragon) programme reached out to 43 schools and 11 companies in Beijing and Shanghai. The programme was delivered through an interactive series of activities to engage the students and heighten their awareness of the recycling efforts. Three schools with outstanding performance were awarded prizes by HP."

Wonderful. Suppose I try and re-cycle HP printer cartridges by injecting 3rd party ink into them; will HP support that? Of course not. Corporate environmental responsibility in practice only goes so far whereas marketing material about it can stretch from here to the moon.

Coincidentally see this.

Getting back to storage; we're only in the knee-jerk reaction phase of responding to climate change. Vendors lucky enough to already have virtualisation and thin provisioning and data-deplication are sitting pretty and will be crowing about it.

Others have nothing to say until they get their storage road-map altered and put some serious R&D muscle behind efforts to enable customers to dramatically cut the energy costs of using their products. Next year we'll see much more impressive green outpourings.