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Greening the data center: Consolidate your servers

(Scott Lowe , TechRepublic) Energy usage in the data center has become a prime target in efforts to reduce the carbon footprint or overall energy usage for organizations. There are numerous ways that you can accomplish this green goal.

Server consolidation projects are being undertaken in many organizations for a variety of reasons. These kinds of projects generally have a number of aims, including:

  • Replacing older hardware with new equipment.
  • Achieving better overall utilization of equipment in the data center.
  • Lowering total costs related to purchasing equipment.

Consider this: Today’s multicore, multiprocessor systems are a far cry from yesterday’s single-core behemoths. Modern servers accomplish their workload goals using less power than their older counterparts, even when running at full bore. Further, consider the usage pattern: These days, migrating those old, single application servers to virtual machines running in a virtual machine on new hardware is far from uncommon. The result: A load that would have required 10, 20, and even 30 servers can now be affectively run on just two or three machines in many cases. With a ton of hypervisor solutions available out there and with many of them being free, virtualization is the quickest way to achieve server consolidation goals.

In many cases, even a one-for-one replacement of old hardware with new can reduce overall energy consumption. However, by combining the workload from so many servers onto a single unit, a massive energy savings can be realized.

Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as throwing in a new server, moving a bunch of workloads, and heading home for the weekend. In order to adequately support so many workloads on a single virtual host, significant storage space is often necessary. But even with the added power requirements of the SAN, most large server consolidation projects still realize major power savings.

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