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Virtualization. Eco Friendly Asset Optimization


The benefits of migration can be significant. Virtualization provides organizations with the opportunity to reduce expenditure on hardware, avoid the need to expand the available floor space and …

The benefits of migration can be significant. Virtualization provides organizations with the opportunity to reduce expenditure on hardware, avoid the need to expand the available floor space and improve both the reliability and security of the infrastructure. And, as an added benefit, it’s green technology: By deploying
virtualization an organization will reduce its power consumption and, accordingly, help reduce environmentally damaging greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • 1. WHITE PAPER Virtualization Eco-friendly asset optimization Brett Callow Copyright © Acronis, Inc., 2000 – 2008 1
  • 2. WHITE PAPER According to a Ziff-Davis survey Power Consumption and Cooling in the Data Center, 71% of data center operators identified power consumption as being a key issue affecting data centers but only 38% reported that power consumption had influenced purchasing decisions. The survey was sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices Introduction Many organizations downplay the importance of energy efficiency when planning or upgrading their IT infrastructures. This is not particularly surprising; utility bills do not come out of the IT budget and accordingly IT managers frequently minimize the question of energy efficiency when making purchasing decisions. Performance, initial cost, systems compatibility and other technology-related issues are usually the determining factors, while heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are the domain of the facilities manager. + Cooling Power Server Support Network - 0 servers 10,000 Energy-efficient hardware configurations cost more than energy-inefficient systems, but only in the short term. In the long term, deploying an energy-efficient infrastructure can provide a much better return on investment (ROI). For example, the cost of powering an inefficient server can, over time, exceed the original purchase price of that server — and exceed the cost of purchasing and powering a more energy efficient server. To suggest that all - or even most - IT managers are ecological terrorists or that they place more importance on short-term savings rather than overall ROI is, of course, completely absurd. There are many factors that might prevent managers from making the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective decision. Budgetary constraints can limit choices available to those responsible for making purchasing decisions. Operating systems and mission-critical software can dictate hardware configurations. And, of course, the most environmentally friendly solution might simply not be the one that best meets the needs of the organization. An additional problem is the lack of an industry standard method of measuring and reporting the performance and efficiency of a server; manufacturers define performance and efficiency differently — or simply don’t do it at all. This makes it extremely difficult for even the most environmentally conscious buyer to compare products and make an informed purchasing decision based not only on performance, but also on efficiency. Furthermore, many organizations, especially small- to midsize businesses (SMBs), are unaware of the actual cost of powering the equipment in their infrastructure and so fail to recognize the extent of the savings that could be achieved through the implementation of a more energy-efficient system. Again, this is not something that is particularly surprising: many organizations have no easy way of determining how much of the power bill is attributable to IT equipment. In the case of some SMBs, power expenses resulting from manufacturing might well skew the equation if the equipment is managed by computers rather than employees who physically turn on the equipment. But times are changing 2
  • 3. WHITE PAPER Energy efficiency moves to center stage “As part of NYSERDA’s mission to use innovation and technology to solve New York’s most difficult energy and environmental problems in ways that improve the State’s economy, it is of utmost importance that we proactively address the increasing energy demand of the rapidly expanding IT infrastructure in New York State.” New York State Energy Research and Development Factors such as continually escalating energy prices, ever increasing power demands of modern hardware and a proliferation of devices with high energy requirements within many infrastructures have helped move the subject of energy efficiency within the IT industry to center stage. In February 2007, companies including Dell, Intel, Sun Microsystems and Advanced Micro Devices joined forces to form The Green Grid, a non-profit organization that seeks to “define best practices for optimizing the efficient consumption of power at the IT equipment and facility levels.” Another non-profit organization, Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC), that, like The Green Grid comprises representatives from major hardware and software vendors including Oracle, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, recently embarked on a project to create a benchmark for measuring and comparing the performance of energy-saving technologies in data centers. Driven by the need to comply with the terms of environmental agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol that imposes mandatory national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, governments are also finally beginning to recognize the importance of achieving greater energy efficiency within IT infrastructures. The European Commission is currently conducting a study of energy consumption in data centers. In fact, the European Commission views the issue as so important that a code of conduct for data center operators is being considered. In December 2006, U.S. President George Bush charged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with undertaking a similar study. The EPA’s report, competed in July 2007, including the following findings: • In 2006, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, which accounted for about 1.5% of the total electricity consumed in the U.S. that year. The total cost of that energy consumption was $4.5 billion, which is more than the electricity consumed by all color televisions in the country and is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 5.8 million average U.S. households. • Data centers’ power and cooling infrastructure accounts for about half of that electricity consumption; IT equipment accounts for the other half. • If the status quo continues, by 2011, data centers will consume 100 billion kWh of energy, at a total annual cost of $7.4 billion. Those levels of power consumption would also necessitate the construction of 10 additional power plants. • The executive summary of the report can be found at opment/downloads/EPA_Report_Exec_Summary_Final.pdf. The entire report can be found at http://www. Utility companies in the U.S. also have jumped on the bandwagon to encourage organizations to implement more ecologically friendly IT policies. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), NSTAR, TXU Electric Delivery, Austin Energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) have joined forces to form a coalition with the goal of coordinating energy-efficiency programs for the IT sector. Such initiatives might well become more widespread. According to Mark Bramfitt, PG&E’s High Tech Segment Lead, the coalition is seeking participation from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency of which 85 utility companies are members. A number of U.S. utilities already provide incentives aimed at encouraging organizations to reduce the amount of energy consumed by their IT infrastructures. For example, PG&E offer rebates to help subsidize the cost of energy reducing projects. 3
  • 4. WHITE PAPER The future: projected power consumption levels The fact that energy efficiency has assumed such a high profile is not at all surprising. Data centers consume up to 100 times more energy per square foot than traditional office space and are being constructed at an unprecedented rate as existing centers reach their space, cooling or energy capacity limit. This trend is creating enormous new demands on the electric supply infrastructure. According to a study by Dr. Jon Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University and one of the foremost international experts on energy usage by IT equipment, the amount of power used in running and cooling servers and auxiliary infrastructure doubled between 2000 and 2005 and now accounts for 1.2% of US electricity consumption. It costs the industry an enormous $2.7 billion per year. Servers in the U.S. consume an amount of electricity equivalent to that produced by 5 1000MW power plants and global consumption is equivalent to the production of 14 such plants. These figures are accurate as of mid-2007. When not in use, turn off the juice. This is the most basic energy conservation strategy for any type of equipment. Consider the following: • Turn off your computer and/or peripherals when they are not in use. Turning on and off will not harm the equipment • Don’t run computers continuously unless they are in use continuously • Turn off at night and on weekends • Look for ways to reduce the amount of time your computer is on without adversely affecting your productivity Green Computing Guide University of Colorado — Boulder International Data Corp. (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence, predicts that the number of volume servers, which currently account for 90-95% of the installed base, will increase by more than 50% from 2005 levels by 2010. Koomey estimates that this will result in an increase of about 75% in the already substantial amount of electricity consumed by servers. The possibility of such an exponential increase in the demand for power — and the inevitable ecological impact of any such increase — makes it easy to see why the IT industry, utility companies, environmental groups and governments have all taken such a keen interest in improving the energy efficiency of IT infrastructures. But what, exactly, is virtualization and how can it help organizations reduce their energy consumption? Basically, virtualization enables an organization to do more with less. Multiple operating systems can be run on a single server with each operating system running as a self-contained computer. This is a popular technology in the traditional mainframe data centers, but relatively new to the Windows server environment. In many organizations, server utilization is frequently only 10-20% of total capacity. By deploying a virtualization solution and running multiple operating systems on a single server, organizations can reduce the number of physical servers required by increasing the utilization of existing servers. This results in improved ROI on server purchases, a reduction in cooling requirements, a reduction in floor space and, crucially, a reduction in power consumption. 4
  • 5. WHITE PAPER According to PG&E’s Bramfitt, the California-based utility is the first in the U.S. to offer financial incentives to organizations that adopt virtualization technology. Organizations can expect to see electricity savings of between $300 and $600 per server annually — or double that amount in the case of data centers when cooling costs are factored in —when a physical server is removed from the infrastructure. Those savings are in addition to the rebates offered by PG&E, which can cover up to 50% of the total cost of the project. “Virtualization technology is helping our customers realize significant energy and cost savings, while addressing critical data center capacity issues. By providing financial support, we hope to increase industry adoption of this technology.” Helen Burt, Senior VP of PG&E PG&E points to a number of success stories - in particular, a customer that made use of virtualization technology to consolidate 230 servers into just 11 new machines and is now planning a second project to consolidate an additional 1,000 machines. While the majority of organizations would almost certainly not be able to achieve such a significant reduction in the numbers of servers required, smaller but still substantial savings are possible in almost every case. Virtualization certainly has the potential to help stem the enormous increases predicted in both the number of servers in operation and the electricity required by those servers. Deploying a virtualization technology is certainly not the only thing a company need do in order to consider itself truly green, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. 5
  • 6. WHITE PAPER Virtualization and the SMB While virtualization has been widely adopted at the enterprise level, SMBs have not embraced the technology so speedily, partly because of the high initial setup costs. Those costs, however, are now falling as vendors of virtualization products begin to target the until-recently largely untapped SMB market. In February 2007, VMware announced that it was launching a $1,500 bundle that included VirtualCenter, the management software for VMware Server, and entitled buyers to technical support. Other companies, such as Virtual Iron, also offer products that provide server virtualization and virtual infrastructure management capabilities at a price which is well within the reach of most SMBs. Additionally, the financial incentives offered by utility companies such as PG&E further help to make virtualization a realistic and affordable option for SMBs. “What this is trying to do is create a ramp for virtualization for SMBs. We have been talking to these businesses about their product needs and what their requirements are and then we want to introduce them to a cost effective way of virtualization along with an easy to use management experience.” Ben Mathieson, Director or Product Management and Marketing, VMware That virtualization has been perceived as being exceptionally difficult to deploy also has contributed to the hesitance of SMBs to adopt the technology. But that misconception is being gradually eroded as more people gain familiarity with what is fast becoming a common component of mainstream computing. New migration and deployment tools, particularly those that provide a full range of migration, are further easing the pain point for migration. Such tools make it possible to migrate data easily from physical to virtual environments, as well as virtual to virtual, physical to physical and virtual to physical systems. Conclusion Deploying virtualization can be a challenge and requires pre-migration planning and the production of a clear roadmap in order for the maximum benefits to be obtained. But the same can be said for any large-scale changes and, with careful planning and the right tools, migrating to a virtualized infrastructure can be a safe and painless process. The benefits of migration can be significant. Virtualization provides organizations with the opportunity to reduce expenditure on hardware, avoid the need to expand the available floor space and improve both the reliability and security of the infrastructure. And, as an added benefit, it’s green technology: By deploying virtualization an organization will reduce its power consumption and, accordingly, help reduce environmentally damaging greenhouse gas emissions. As more companies come to realize the value and virtues of virtualization, they are discovering benefits beyond server consolidation and lower power requirements. They are beginning to realize that a well-implemented virtual environment can help them protect their most valuable asset, the information contained within their computer systems. By consolidating servers into a virtual environment, an IT organization can build a disaster recover plan that is easier to create, manage and maintain. Having a reduced number of physical servers to manage allows more accurate and timely backup and recoveries. This model holds true whether you are facing a disaster, a system upgrade or simple server maintenance. 6
  • 7. WHITE PAPER “In 2007, expect to see power-consumption and thermal issues take center stage for large enterprises as storage hardware vendors pitch customers products that reduce datacenter utility bills while preserving margins.” Review/Preview 2007 The 451 Group Regardless of the virtualization operating system selected — VMware, Microsoft, Parallels, XenSource - virtualization has the potential to not only reduce a company’s power consumption significantly, but it also can reduce its overall space needs, reduce capital expenditures and improve productivity. Acronis Inc. is a global provider of storage management software that enables corporations and individuals to move, manage and maintain digital assets. Acronis sells innovative solutions for disaster recovery, server consolidation and virtualization migration, which allow users to maintain business continuity and reduce downtime in computing environments. Acronis software products are sold in more than 180 countries and are available in 13 languages. For more information on eco-friendly computing, contact: • EPEAT: • Energy Management, University of Michigan: management/Green_Computing.html • Energy Star: • Green Computing Guide: • NYSERDA: About the author Brett Callow is a technical consultant providing services to a number of leading international technology companies and has been extensively involved in the planning of various industry standard IT certification examinations. Brett has been awarded Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) designation for the past 3 years. MVPs are exceptional technical community leaders from around the world who are awarded for voluntarily sharing their high quality, real-world expertise in offline and online technical communities by Microsoft For additional information please visit Enterprise/SMB Sales: OEM Inquiries: Email: Email: Call.: +1 877 669-9749 Call.: +1 650 875-7593 Copyright © 2000-2008 Acronis, Inc. All rights reserved. “Acronis”, “Acronis Compute with Confidence”, “Acronis True Image Echo”, “Active Restore”, “Acronis Recovery” and the Acronis logo are trademarks of Acronis, Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Other mentioned names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners and should be regarded as such. Technical changes and differences from the illustrations are reserved; errors are excepted. 2008-07 7