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SMB Virtualization for Energy Savings

Microsoft cited the following information from an EPA report to Congress (August 2007): “The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have reported on the high energy costs of data centers, estimating that 1.5 percent of all U.S. energy consumption occurs in data centers. Compounding this problem, server workloads consume on average only five percent of total physical server capacity, wasting hardware, space, and electricity.”

Microsoft cited the following information from an EPA report to Congress (August 2007):

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“The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have reported on the high energy costs of data centers, estimating that 1.5 percent of all U.S. energy consumption occurs in data centers. Compounding this problem, server workloads consume on average only five percent of total physical server capacity, wasting hardware, space, and electricity.”

Since the EPA report, many small and medium-sized businesses in the United States have turned to virtualization to reduce their share of the rising costs for data center operation. If you own a small or medium-sized business, it is worth exploring if virtualization will help your business save on energy, equipment, and replacement costs. This type of green business strategy would benefit your company’s finances and designate your commitment to global conservation efforts. If you haven’t designed a green agenda for your company, virtualization can be your first step towards environmental management. You can also tell your network of supporters, including customer stakeholders, about your green improvements to business as usual.  

Why is virtualization designated as a green business practice by government agencies such as EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy? Virtualization is an intelligent means of reducing the cost of maintaining IT infrastructure. Companies like IBM advertise small business solutions through servers designed for virtualization. For example, the IBM BladeCenter LS42 is available in a 2- or 4-socket server. According to IBM, the integration of this model “reduces the need for server components, replacing numerous fans, KVM and Ethernet cables, power supplies, external switches and other components…” The owner of this server saves on electricity for operating the machine and on cooling costs because the machine generates substantially less heat.

Virtualization is the process by which one server performs as multiple servers. The best part is that your company no longer needs to rely on separate servers as backups for each other. A single server runs multiple applications, or network components, because virtualization software divides the single server into several compartments. If one compartment, a compartmentalized server on the single computer, fails, the other servers do not crash.

*As the owner of a single server, get a bigger bang for your buck with multiple servers for only the cost of a single machine.
*Plus, energy costs are much less for one server instead of multiple servers.

Virtualization as a business solution is not practical for small and medium businesses with only a few servers. However, for businesses that maintain a whole room of expensive servers, scaling down the IT infrastructure saves on the overhead costs of a large server room, including expenses for cooling (electricity), security, and insurance. Switching to the virtualization strategy also simplifies some technical aspects of managing your IT infrastructure. Let your techie staff explain the tech benefits of virtualization to you.

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So go green with virtualization, a national best practice for business and government. You can still enjoy the same level of IT capability with lower costs.

About the Author:
JD Carr, CGB – is a serial entrepreneur and consultant with over 14 years experience building Internet and digital media businesses. JD is a Certified Green Broker® and specializes in commercial building sustainability and finance with Greenergy2030.com. A vocal advocate for environmental issues, JD writes and lectures frequently on the subject and is committed to helping entrepreneurs realize the positive goals their organizations can achieve through sustainable business practices.

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