Virtualization Is Key Green Technology

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2008-10-22 Print this article Print

Without a doubt, x86-based server virtualization is the most popular power-saving project for data center managers. Data center consolidation projects based on hypervisor technology from VMware, Microsoft, Citrix Systems, Red Hat, Novell and Xen have already demonstrated significant hardware savings and improved IT resource efficiency.

Virtual resources must still run on physical hardware that must be powered and cooled, and virtual machines are even easier to lose track of than traditional one-server/one-application implementations. VM sprawl, the unmanaged proliferation of virtual resources, can result in no new energy savings. Virtualization without effective capacity planning and life-cycle management can easily result in IT departments spending as much or more on utilities.

Thus, green IT requires a holistic approach to data center and desktop system management that ties business use to resource planning. Simply virtualizing resources does not a green IT solution make.

HP unveils internal green IT initiatives. Check them out.

 A September research study by Enterprise Management Associates showed that virtualization was the most popular green IT initiative, but that CPU power throttling, which resulted in 14 percent energy savings on existing equipment, got the highest return on investment.

CPU power throttling has been available-but not often implemented-in server hardware since 2000. This is one piece of low-hanging fruit that IT managers can grasp immediately to yield utility savings now. However, implementing CPU power saving requires, of course, hardware that supports this functionality and an operating system that can implement the technology.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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