What to do to reduce data center energy costs

Server virtualization technology is already saving you money. So why not save some more money? Forrest Research introduced three methods it recommended.

As the global economy is on the road to recovery, many companies urgently need to deploy new applications and launch new market plans, thus increasing investment in servers. Forrester Research found that 25% of companies expect server spending to increase by 5% to 10%; 6% of companies expect this to increase by 10% or more. In order to reduce operating and capital costs, improve disaster recovery, and accelerate the launch of new applications to the market, many companies now turn to server virtualization technology.

However, a new motivation for enterprises to expand and improve the use of server virtualization technology is gradually emerging: reducing energy consumption. What is the reason? Forrester Research found three main drivers behind it:

cost. The server's electricity and cooling costs over the entire period of use actually exceeded the original purchase price. Virtualization technology can reduce the total energy consumption of all servers, so that the same workload can be run on a smaller number of physical servers.

elasticity. To ensure that uptime and service level agreements are guaranteed, virtualization technology can alleviate server constraints in terms of site, power, and cooling.

green. Virtualization technology can reduce the total number of servers, and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions related to energy consumption and the electronic waste caused by the future purchase and disposal of server equipment.

In order to reduce the energy cost of the server by up to 65% and fully utilize the potential of virtualization in energy saving, Forrester recommends the following three aspects to improve the process:

1. Increase the overall ratio of virtual servers to physical servers.

Now companies have a great opportunity to increase the application of virtualization technology in all server environments and platforms. We found that although approximately 90% of companies are or plan to virtualize servers, only 37% of their x86 operating system instances are virtual servers. This number is expected to increase to 65% within two years.

In addition, the degree of virtualization varies greatly, depending on the specific server platform and environment. To maximize energy savings, the first step is to increase the overall application of virtualization technology in all environments and platforms. To ensure that you are actually saving energy on the ground, it is important to shut down or deactivate servers that no longer handle any workload. Forrester Research ’s Green IT Maturity Assessment Method describes the need to achieve the following virtualization goals to reach one of the four levels of green IT maturity: 1. Need improvement (1% to 25% of systems use virtualization (2) Continue to improve (26% to 50% of systems use virtualization); 3, mature (51% to 75% of systems use virtualization); 4. The best of its kind (76% to 100% The system uses virtualization).

2. Maximize the ratio and utilization of virtual machines to physical hosts.

Virtualization technology alone is not enough. In addition to expanding the application scope of server virtualization as a whole, it is also necessary to improve the efficiency of virtualization in order to further save energy. The server virtualization ratio has not kept up with the capabilities of modern hardware and virtualization platforms. If a new server is purchased with a virtual machine to physical host ratio of 4: 1, it can usually reach a break-even; but most servers can accommodate 15 virtual machines. Improving the efficiency of virtualization can help you avoid buying three new servers, not to mention the additional power, cooling, and space costs associated with the purchase of these new devices.

A key ratio that administrators use to determine how many virtual machines each physical host can hold is the server's processor utilization. There is a direct link between processor utilization, virtual machines per physical host, and energy savings. An independent server without virtualization processing may have an average utilization rate of only 10% to 15%, while the utilization rate of a virtualization server can theoretically be close to 100%. However, Forrester Research found that most administrators are hesitant to increase the utilization of physical host servers to 25% to 50%-this limits the number of virtual machines that each physical host can hold and Potential for energy saving. Servers without virtualization are still consuming considerable energy.

If you increase the number of virtual machines per physical host, you can reduce the total number of physical servers, thereby reducing energy consumption. As server teams become more accustomed to higher server virtualization utilization, they can safely add more virtual machines to each physical server without reducing service levels.

Third, purchase more energy-efficient servers and architecture.

If your virtualization ratio has increased to the limit, or if you realize that you need a higher-end server infrastructure in the future, purchasing more energy-efficient servers and architectures is the only remaining option to reduce energy consumption. The energy consumption of each server will be higher-but the total energy consumption of the server will be lower, that is because the total number of servers has been reduced. If you do not want to take too much risk and will not push the virtualization ratio to the limit, then these more energy-efficient server environments may be your only practical and reliable choice.

Forrester recommends that you should purchase a newer version of the same server your company is already purchasing. The trick of updating the server alone is expected to reduce the server's energy consumption. New server architectures such as blade systems and converged infrastructure are not only inherently more energy efficient, but also facilitate the application of virtualization.

As the vice president of an online services company said, they have achieved a very amazing energy saving effect after using the converged architecture: "We saved 75% of the site, saved 25% of operating expenses, and reduced by 30% to 40% The amount of heat dissipated also saves 40% of electricity. "

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