Cost and Community

By Bob Violino Print this article Print

Virtualization, green IT, and cloud computing are helping organizations transform their computing resources.

Cost and Community

Public sector organizations are under pressure not only to be environmentally friendly, but also to control spending. The county government in Fairfax County, Va., launched a server virtualization program in its data center about a year and a half ago, and has thus far reduced its physical servers from 870 to fewer than 300. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of physical servers to fewer than 50, says Jeff Porter, director of infrastructure for the county.

To help determine which servers are good candidates for consolidation, the county IT department uses a software product called NightWatchman Server Edition, from 1E, which measures server workloads and identifies which servers are being underutilized.

Using VMware virtualization software, the county operates about 740 virtual servers. The biggest benefits are cost savings of $6.43 million in data center hardware since starting the virtualization effort; annual electricity savings of about $380,000; and improved server utilization (prior to virtualization, the server utilization rate was 5 to 10 percent, but it’s now about 70 percent.) “The number of [physical] servers we had was impossible to keep under maintenance,” Porter says. “The only way to get the budget under control was to virtualize.”

The Uptime Institute’s Kudritzki expects data center transformation efforts—including virtualization, green IT and cloud computing—to continue. “Most forward-thinking organizations are creating diverse portfolios” that include a mix of virtualized servers operating in a private cloud environment, and the use of public cloud services for some applications, he says. “The days of the monolithic data center, with one function and one level of redundancy, are waning.”

This article was originally published on 2011-10-03
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