Virtualisation and being green

How to cut emissions, cut costs and transform your IT

The need for organisations to become more sustainable in their business practices has been near the top of the boardroom agenda now for a number of years.  In most cases, a large amount of the responsibility for meeting sustainability objectives is placed squarely on the shoulders of the CIO, with IT being identified as one of the areas where quick wins can be made. 
 
Researcher IDC recently suggested the use of green IT could slash global carbon emissions by almost 6bn tonnes by 2020.  But it is the associated costs benefits of becoming green, in the form of significantly reduced electricity and power bills, which provide many businesses with the real driver to make the move to sustainable IT. The good news for the CIO is that green ITsolutions have proliferated as sustainability has climbed the list of corporate priorities. The bad news, however, is that prioritising potential fixes is not easy amidst a flood of information.
 
Whilst there is no silver bullet, virtualisation often tops the list of technologies because it helps CIOs tackle the largest culprits of energy over-consumption – under-utilised x86 desktops and servers. Servers are typically only in use for five to 15% of the time they are on, but still consume significant amounts of power. Indeed it is estimated that the majority of hardware consumes 60 to 90% of the normal workload power when idle. Virtualised machines instead offer utilisation rates of 60-80%, so it is perhaps no surprise that the use of server virtualisation technologies has increased rapidly over the last few years. Estimates show there is the potential to slash up to 80% of annual energy bills for an organisation using VMware’s server virtualisation technology. 
 
In fact, the impact of virtualisation on energy consumption is so significant that utilities companies in North America have been known to pay customers to remove servers through consolidation. Similarly, some   Governments have even offered tax incentives to organisations using VMware’s server virtualisation technology as part of an initiative to decrease overall emissions.  The green benefits of server virtualisation do not rely solely on the fact that by consolidating servers you are taking big, power-hungry machines off your IT floor and out of your business. VMware’s technology enables the post-consolidation server environment to work far more efficiently.
 
VMware’s Distributed Power Management (DPM) feature, for example, helps reduce power consumption on an ongoing basis by turning off servers when there is unneeded capacity. Servers are powered back on when the capacity is required.The feature automatically shrinks or expands the pool of servers running at any given time without reducing service levels because virtual machines are unaffected by live migration. And such capacity on-demand eliminates the need to maintain excess capacity, while ensuring resources are available when extra capacity is needed. A great example of an organisation that has benefited from virtualisation technology is the London Borough of Hillingdon. Not only did the Council achieve a huge annual saving of £93,000 in energy bills, but it also reduced its carbon emissions by 171 tonnes a year.
 
Having implemented VMware technology, the Council also estimates it has avoided £810,000 in new IT investment that would have been required if it had stuck with the previous IT environment. The virtualised environment has also enabled the Council to dramatically reduce the time taken to deliver key projects, and the IT department also spends 60% less time on maintenance and administration because instances of downtime have been almost eliminated. 
 
It is not just through server virtualisation that VMware helps organisations improve their green credentials and accrue other benefits; desktop virtualisation can also play a crucial role in helping organisations cut their carbon emissions by replacing under-utilised PC desktop hardware with thin clients that consume far less energy.
 
Hardware lifecycles for the desktop can also be extended, so that desktops need to be replaced less frequently. Virtual desktops also let you take advantage of the dynamic workload balancing and distributed power management of the virtual infrastructure mentioned above. FTSE 100 organisation Land Securities is a good example of an organisation that has seen benefits having deployed desktop virtualisation technology. The company reduced its energy bills by £10,000 a year after making the move to a virtualised desktop environment, while also saving almost £200,000 in desktop investment in the first year of implementation alone.
 
Softer benefits, such as improved user experience and increased remote working capabilities, have also made a huge difference to the business. Virtualisation, then, offers CIOs the ability to make big transformations both for the short-term and the long-term. Organisations working with VMware and BT Engage IT can not only achieve their primary goals of cutting carbon emissions and making big cost savings, but they can also transform their IT infrastructure to one that is more energyefficient, more flexible, more agile and more cost-effective.
 
BT Engage IT has a breadth of portfolio and methodology in designing, implementing and supporting virtualisation across the organisational IT infrastructure, alongside world-class delivery expertise in licensing and professional services. The strategic partnership between the need for organisations to become more sustainable in their business practices has been near the top of the boardroom agenda now for a number of years.In most cases, a large amount of theresponsibility for meeting sustainabilityobjectives is placed squarely on the shouldersof the CIO, with IT being identified as oneof areas where quick wins can be made.
 
Researcher IDC recently suggested the useof green IT could slash global carbon emissionsby almost 6bn tonnes by 2020.But it is the associated costs benefits o fbecoming green, in the form of significantly reduced electricity and power bills, which provide many businesses with the real driver to make the move to sustainable IT.The good news for the CIO is that green IT solutions have proliferated as sustainability has climbed the list of corporate priorities. The bad news, however, is that prioritising potential fixes is not easy amidst a flood of information.  Whilst there is no silver bullet, virtualisation often tops the list of technologies because it helps CIOs tackle the largest culprits ofenergy over-consumption – under-utilised x86 desktops and servers.
 
Servers are typically only in use for five to 15% of the time they are on, but still consume significant amounts of power. Indeed it is estimated that the majority of hardware consumes 60 to 90% of the normal workload power when idle. Virtualised machines instead offer utilisation rates of 60-80%, so it is perhaps no surprise that the use of server virtualisation technologies has increased rapidly over thel ast few years.
 
Estimates show there is thepotential to slash up to 80% of annual energy bills for an organisation using VMware’s server virtualisation technology.  In fact, the impact of virtualisation on energy consumption is so significant that utilities companies in North America have been known to pay customers to remove servers through consolidation. Similarly, some governments have even offered tax incentives to organisations using VMware’s server virtualisation technology as part of an initiative to decrease overall emissions.
 
The green benefits of server virtualisation do not rely solely on the fact that by consolidating servers you are taking big, power-hungry machines off your IT floor and out of your business.
 
VMware’s technology enables the post-consolidation server environment to work far more efficiently.VMware’s Distributed Power Management (DPM) feature, for example, helps reduce power consumption on an ongoing basis by turning off servers when there is unneeded capacity. Servers are powered back on when the capacity is required. The feature automatically shrinks or expands the pool of servers running at any given time without reducing service levels because virtual machines are unaffected by live migration.   And such capacity on-demand eliminates the need to maintain excess capacity, while ensuring resources are available when extra capacity is needed.
 
A great example of an organisation that has benefited from virtualisation technology is the London Borough of Hillingdon. Not only did the Council achieve a huge annual saving of £93,000 in energy bills, but it also reduced its carbon emissions by 171 tonnes a year.  Having implemented VMware technology,  the Council also estimates it has avoided £810,000 in new IT investment that would have been required if it had stuck with the previous IT environment.
 
The virtualised environment has also enabled the Council to dramatically reduce the time taken to deliver key  projects, and the IT department alsospends 60% less time on maintenance and administration because instances of downtime have been almost eliminated.  It is not just through server virtualisationthat VMware helps organisations improve their green credentials and accrue othe rbenefits; desktop virtualisation can also play a crucial role in helping organisations cut their rcarbon emissions by replacing under-utilised PC desktop hardware with thin clients that consume far less energy.
 
Hardware lifecycles for the desktop can also be extended, so that desktops need to be replaced less frequently.  Virtual desktops also let you take advantage of the dynamic workload balancing and distributed power management of the virtual infrastructure mentioned above.
 
FTSE 100 organisation Land Securities is a good example of an organisation that has seen benefits having deployed desktop virtualisation technology. The company reduced its energy bills by £10,000 a year after making the move to a virtualised desktop environment, while also saving almost £200,000 in desktop investment in the first year of implementation alone. Softer benefits, such as improved user experience and increased remote working capabilities, have also made a huge difference to the business.  Virtualisation, then, offers CIOs the ability to make big transformations both for the short-term and the long-term.
 
Organisations working with VMware and BT Engage ITcan not only achieve their primary goals of cutting carbon emissions and making big cost savings, but they can also transform their IT infrastructure to one that is more energy efficient, more flexible, more agile and more cost-effective.
 
BT Engage IT has a breadth of portfolio and methodology in designing, implementing and supporting virtualisation across the organisational IT infrastructure, alongside world-class delivery expertise in licensing and  professional services. The strategic partnership between VMware and BT Engage IT brings a powerful proposition to CIOs around virtualisation and application delivery.
 
This article was written by Matthew Piercy, Senior Director for VMware Northern Europe and BT Engage IT brings a powerful proposition to CIOs around virtualisation and application delivery.
 
 

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