Virtualisation and Energy Conservation

Shabir Satar, product manager at Huawei Symantec gives us insight into virtualisation and energy conservation.

July 18, 2011

By Shabir Satar, product manager, Huawei Symantec

IT systems are often planned by application, not addressing energy conservation and future growth needs. As data centers grow rapidly in numbers and size, their energy consumption is becoming a concern.

Hardware resources are selected based on the applications and eventually enterprises develop a funnel-shaped IT architecture where resources cannot be shared. Because there is little adaptability in this type of architecture, bottlenecks are created. Virtualisation is a fundamental approach that addresses the issues of “green” and “virtualisation”, which complement each other.

Virtualisation allows enterprises to improve the utilisation of their infrastructure, saving on operational costs and reducing resource consumption such as electricity.  While focusing on energy conservation, an enterprise can make significant savings in the costs associated with their data center.

Almost all data centers have begun or are attempting to implement virtualisation. In a virtual environment, users will improve the utilisation of servers and storage resources and the utilisation of the entire infrastructure, including power consumption, cooling, space usage and labour costs.

Mainframe Virtualisation

Mainframe – a Major Power Consumer

The power consumption of a current server is four times that of a server five years ago. Blade servers, which were recently introduced, are even more power consuming. The power consumption of a large blade server is often equal to that of a standard full cabinet. A user with 100 servers can, by applying virtualisation, reduce this to 70 servers. In addition to saving on the investment in servers, there are savings on power consumption.

How Virtualisation Saves Energy

By virtualising one physical mainframe into multiple virtual mainframes, the computing and storage resources of the physical mainframes are shared, reducing the quantity of physical mainframes needed.

Through mainframe virtualisation, the number of physical mainframes can be decreased, reducing energy consumption. At present, mainframe-based virtualisation technology consists for both hardware and software virtualisation.

Network Virtualisation

Significance of Network Virtualisation

Large enterprises with multiple branches, such as financial and telecom enterprises, often pool data into one central data center. While this method improves management and business efficiency, by centralising data, enterprises must address disaster recovery for these data centres. At present, virtualisation technologies mainly cover in-band and outband virtualisation.

In-band virtualisation refers to virtualisation with data and the control information in the same channel. Out-band virtualisation refers to virtualisation with the data and control information in different channels.

Storage Integration

Through network virtualisation, integrating different vendors’ storage equipment to form a unified storage resource and to allocate virtual resources to mainframes will improve the storage utilisation rate.

Data Protection for Heterogeneous Disk Array

Apart from storage integration, network virtualisation equipment provides a local data protection function such as snapshot, cloning and remote mirroring.  With storage integration, users can effectively manage heterogeneous arrays through snapshot, cloning and remote mirroring.

Hierarchical Storage Reducing Energy Consumption

Virtualisation of storage equipment can effectively provide a hierarchical storage mechanism. It allows frequently used data to be stored on high-performance arrays and it stores infrequently used data on low-performance and low-power arrays. This also provides a green function by effectively allocating data to low-power and high-power arrays.

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