Monday, January 7, 2008

Virtualization and Energy Savings

I just got back from a week in Silicon Valley checking out the hottest companies and perhaps the most impressive company I visited was VMWare. From the perspective of someone with an IT background who cares about the environment, virtualization is an exciting development. As a certified business continuity professional, I know how power intensive running a data center is.

Virtualization allows boxes in data centers to run far more efficiently (up to 80-85% utilization rather than the 20% that was standard). It's unbelievable how much energy data centers chew up and maximizing the efficiency of all these plugged in boxes can save a ton of energy. Diane Greene, VMWare's CEO said one study estimated that the energy savings that VMWare has generated would be enough to power New England for a whole year.

The VMWare site has some stats that show the environmental impact and corporate expense of data center power consumption. Some interesting points:

-Gartner says energy costs could increase from 10% to 50% of IT budgets in the next few years. Need to track this study down as that seems towards the high range.
-$14 billion a year is spent powering and cooling servers according to IDC. By the end of 2009, they say powering the servers will cost more than the boxes themselves.

VMWare has a remarkable product: incredibly stable with a tremendous customer value proposition. Beyond the benefits to CIO budgets though, it's a shift that is good for the environment as well.

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