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Maximizing IT server space: a virtual win
From CD players to iPod nanos. Cell phones to SmartPhones. PCs and laptops to tablets and iPads.
Electronics are getting smaller yet more robust and accomplishing more work using less electrical power. These evolving technologies give us opportunities to challenge the status quo, improve efficiency and lower operational costs in all areas of computing, including how we host our Windows® servers.
With server virtualization, we no longer need to dedicate one hardware server for every Windows server. Using new software, fast and power-efficient processors, and increased network speeds we now run multiple Windows servers on a single “host” hardware server. This yields cost savings, reduced energy use and better performance.
Imagine a large, unfinished basement. To use the space more efficiently, you divide it into several smaller rooms – maybe a TV room, a game room, and a storage area. Server virtualization uses the same concept by compartmentalizing compute resources to maximize space with a virtualization ratio of about 20:1 (20 Windows servers running on one hardware server).
As part of our five-year server virtualization project, in 2010 we also began to add Cisco Blade servers to optimize our server environments, making the virtualization ratio closer to 30:1. By migrating our legacy servers to the Cisco Blade technology, we save 33 percent on power costs, reducing our carbon footprint and physical floor space density by 33 percent as well.
When we started the project in 2008 we had more than 5,000 Windows servers. By the end of 2010, we had virtualized 60 percent of our total server population. Combined with server optimization, this effort has produced a virtual energy savings of more than 25.6 million kWh and 1 million tons in CO2 emissions. Our goal is 100 percent server virtualization by 2013.
A win for us and a win for the environment.
Because of server virtualization, our server storage has increased from about 2,000 terabytes in 2009 to more than 3,000 by the end of 2010.