Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Green IT: How Infrastructure as a Service Can Lead to 80% Energy Savings

Using virtualization technology in a public or private cloud scenario

The data center industry, especially cloud providers, has recently been in the spotlight for massive power consumption. For example, if the industry were a country, it would be in the Top 15 users of energy, somewhere between Spain and Italy. The 30+ Gigawatts pushed through data centers across the globe has a far-reaching impact, including on the enterprise bottom line. Electricity isn't cheap and, to top it off, analyst firm IDC estimated un-utilized server capacity as equal to $140 billion, more than 20 million servers and 80 million tons of CO2 per year.

Yet, using virtualization technology in a public or private cloud scenario to run many instances of operating systems simultaneously on the same piece of hardware can lead to up to 80% efficiency. Pair this with Infrastructure as a Service or cloud computing models where virtualization is the norm, and the potential for cost savings is tremendous.

In a typical data center, servers use 80% of the IT power load and 40% of total power. Cooling and other infrastructure add up to another 50%. Most modern equipment uses processors with x86 architecture, which is designed to only house a single application at any given time. That leads to entire servers sitting idle about 90% of the time. Virtualization software installs a hypervisor layer on top of the bare-metal machine, allowing it to run multiple operating systems and therefore many apps at once, using more of that available computing power. Servers can be decreased or consolidated.

Computing requirements change rapidly as business needs adjust, and one of the strongest arguments for both cloud computing and virtualization is the true flexibility to provision across Iinfrastructure as a Service. With a virtual machine, resources can easily be scaled up on existing hardware, increasing the utilization of server resources from about 10% to 80%. As the number of physical servers decrease, so do the cooling and power needs, reducing cost significantly.

Considering the ongoing pressure on IT budgets, the ROI of virtual machines is significant.

For the sake of comparison, we'll assume an "average" virtual machine size of 1 virtual CPU, 3 GB of RAM and 60 GB of disk space. We will place these VMs on an example server with a 1100 watt power supply and 256 GB RAM, paired with a storage array that pulls 1400 watts of power. That means we could fit about 85 of our average sized-VMs in our imaginary data center, with plenty of storage room left over. Assuming this server is pushed to its maximum power load of 1100W, each average VM would pull 30.59 watts including storage use (they barely use 13W before storage).

If each of those virtual machines were on their own server, and each server was using 350W at an average load (as they are using less of their available resources than a virtualized machine), they would use 29,750 total watts, plus the 1400W for storage.

We need to add cooling on top of this, too. A decent rule of thumb is about 50% of the total wattage added for cooling power, so for our virtualized server we would need an additional 1300W, and for the non-virtualized servers we would need an additional 15,575W. Our grand totals, then, are about 46.7 Kilowatts for the standalone servers and 2.73 KW for our virtualized server.

What's the final ROI? If we assume a (cheap) price of electricity of 8 cents per Kilowatt Hour, and look at athree year life cyle, the standalone price would be $98,234.64 while the virtualized server would be $5,740.59 a cost savings of over $90,000.

These savings will vary with different hardware types and workloads, yet even using your own numbers, it should be clear that virtualization and Infrastructure as a Service dramatically decreases energy use and CO2 emissions while saving companies a significantly on space and equipment.

In early 2013, 451 Research reported that average x86 server virtualization levels have reached 51 percent, a 13 percent increase from the prior year. And, while this certainly signals a tipping point in the industry, there are still major cost and efficiency savings yet to be realized.

More Stories By Shawn Mills

Shawn Mills has a deep background in the technology industry, with expertise in product and business development and go-to-market strategy. He is president and a founding member of Green House Data, the nation’s greenest cloud hosting and colocation data center service provider, and of several other IT and telecommunication companies. Under his leadership, Green House Data has expanded out of its Cheyenne, Wyoming headquarters, launching cloud hosting and IaaS services in the Portland, Oregon and New York metro areas. Mills has been a featured speaker at other industry events, including 7x24 Exchange, Data Center World and the National Center for Super Computing Applications.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching ...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...