Virtualization investments in data centers and in enterprise IT systems are beginning to pay off -- sometimes very handsomely -- for early adopters. More and more examples of this are coming to the fore in these days of a sharply reduced-spending economy.
The most recent example: San Francisco-based IT services provider BEAR Data Systems, a Cisco Systems gold-certified partner, revealed June 24 that its hardware and virtualization tools are enabling clients to achieve energy savings of 30 percent or more.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program would be quite please to hear that. That has been the agency's goal from the beginning: to see enterprises save 20 to 30 percent on power and cooling costs in the data center.
With this savings and BEAR Data's recent report that utility rebates -- from Northern California's Pacific Gas & Electric and others -- are enabling clients to recover as much as half of their upgrade investment, the virtualization updates are quickly paying for themselves, the company said.
For example, storage provider NetApp last year received a rebate check amounting to $1.4 million from PG&E for its outstanding energy efficiencies used in its new, green Sunnyvale data center.
Another recent example involves the city of Minneapolis, Minn., which simply decided to make wholesale changes and outsource its entire IT function to Unisys.
Minneapolis used to run its own data centers, as many large cities do. But five years ago, the city decided to outsource all this to Unisys, which has managed the city's entire IT infrastructure-including servers, storage and networking to mobile PCs in police cars-since that time.
The result: a bottom-line cost savings of more than $18 million in taxpayer capital. Virtualization in the Unisys systems is largely to thank for this.
BEAR Data's solutions are being used by businesses of all sizes, who have reduced IT staffs and tight budgets because they offer more than just energy savings, the company said. By replacing old equipment with more efficient computing hardware and installing power management systems, companies are also benefitting from increased power, enhanced productivity and streamlined monitoring.
Large IT departments in California report that it isn't uncommon to spend between $14 million and $20 million a year on data center power from the wall.
"Even if companies could afford today's higher energy prices, the supply of electricity hasn't kept up with data center demand," said Don James, CEO of BEAR Data Systems. "Organizations need solutions that significantly lower their power costs and reduce the impact their activities have on the environment."