How Virtualization Can Reduce Your Energy Costs
How Virtualization Can Reduce Your Energy Costs

Virtualization can enable cost savings for organizations in multiple ways. This article explores those instances and points out how the overall power savings from virtualization can boost the environmental credentials of the private and public institutions that adopt it.     

Each year, organizations devote a substantial amount of their budget to providing power for their operations. Energy costs are on the rise, and so is its consumption. With companies and public agencies running on an increasing number of devices, costs are expected to trend upward still.

The Nigerian context brings an extra dimension to the situation with energy costs in the country. For most businesses, power from the public grid isn’t enough. They often have to augment it with expensive alternatives. One estimate puts the total annual spend on power by businesses at ?5 trillion.

Given this situation, it’s easy to see why businesses are on the lookout for legitimate ways to cut their power costs. Virtualization technology provides them with an effective way to do just that.

What Is Virtualization?

Virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual version of an actual thing, including Operating Systems, servers, storage devices, and other computer platforms and network resources.

The virtual versions sit atop the actual component and run just like them. Virtualization is done by deploying software that divides the physical resource into multiple virtual instances.

Here’s an example. Given a single physical server, multiple virtual servers could be created to run atop that server, and work just like it. Each of those virtual servers will perform the same functions that a single physical server would.

The same sort of thing happens with virtual Operating Systems. If you have virtualization software on your computer, you could create multiple Operating Systems—called Virtual Machines –that would run alongside the single Operating System that the computer previously had.

This ability to run several instances of a single component is at the core of the cost savings that virtualization can guarantee.

In the following sections, we explore some of the ways by which virtualization achieves lower costs for the organizations that adopt it.

Virtualization and Server Consolidation

Datacenters consume a lot of electricity. One widely cited report from 2018 (contained in the journal Science) suggests that they take up about 205 terawatt-hours of electricity annually—that’s about 1% of electricity consumed worldwide each year.

It follows that thanks to the energy costs associated with them, datacenters cost a lot to maintain.

A greater part of that expense--40% in one report--comes from running servers. Considering that many servers only have a single application running on them per time, it’s clear that a lot of spending is going into keeping those applications up. It also means that these servers are sitting idle most of the time, adding even more expense for little or no workloads.

With virtualization, these costs can be cut significantly. Virtualization enables the consolidation of the number of servers in a data center, enabling businesses to run several applications and Operating System workloads on a single server. In many cases, a company could have ten workloads running on one server; but it’s possible to have several times that number on one server.

This consolidation translates to a reduction in the number of servers needed, and a substantial increase in the utilization of server capacity. Capacity use could increase from about 15% (which is typical) to as much as 80%. Energy savings may increase by up to 80%, and energy costs are cut by a significant amount. 

Scalability and Tailoring Resources to Current Needs

Energy costs can increase or decrease depending on the demand placed on the resources that consume power. These variations may occur over short periods, such as hours within a day. They could also be longer-term, such as the growth of a company.

If an organization experiences any of these instances, it may have to spend a lot on acquiring new capabilities. Its response in any of these cases may also be slowed down due to hardware handling issues and associated costs.

Virtualization can enable organizations to scale resources quickly and meet growing demand. Whether the demand on resources fluctuates over a short period, or resources have to be matched to company growth, creating virtual versions of those resources can take care of those needs.

Often, businesses may maintain ‘excess capacity’ just so they can utilize that capacity when the occasion calls for it. This happens when they are principally dependent on hardware or other actual components, and less on virtual versions of them. With virtualization, they can power on or power off capacity, and save the cost of dormant resources.

Virtualization’s Impact on the Environment

By reducing the amount of energy that has to be consumed per device, virtualization shrinks the potential impact that their use could have on the environment.

By one estimate, each server that is virtualized saves 7,000kWh of electricity and four tons of carbon dioxide emission per year. It cuts down the amount of space that’s required in a data center, thus reducing both the cost of managing it and its possible impact on the environment.

Another way in which virtualization helps mitigate the environmental impact of technology is its cutting down on hardware that needs to be decommissioned at the end of its lifespan. Electronic waste is known to be a major environmental hazard, and the failure to properly dispose of them could mean that they become a physical pollutant. If companies opt for virtualization instead of acquiring new hardware, they could drive down the number of hardware that will eventually be decommissioned.

Layer3 Provides You with the Benefits of Virtualization

If you would like to enjoy the many benefits of virtualization, you can do so with the virtualization products available from Layer3.

Our solutions can help you reduce your hardware and operating costs by up to 50%, and cut down the time it takes to provision new servers by up to 70%. We also enable you to automate your virtual infrastructure, avoiding planned downtimes and eliminating repetitive configuration and maintenance tasks.

Let’s provide you with a virtualization solution that meets your needs. To get in touch with us, click here.

 

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