May 25, 2009 (12:05 AM EDT)
Green IT Book Excerpt: Virtualizing Your Systems

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Chapter 6: Virtualizing Your IT Systems
The Greening Of IT: How Companies Can Make A Difference For The Environment
This book excerpt represents a portion of Chapter 6 from the new release, The Greening Of IT: How Companies Can Make A Difference For The Environment, by John Lamb, published by IBM Press, April 2009.
ISBN 0137150830
Copyright 2009 by
International Business Machines Corporation
All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. For more info, please visit: IBM Press Book or Safari Books Online

Chapter 6: Virtualizing Your IT Systems

In This Chapter:
  • The Concepts Of Consolidation And Virtualization
  • Consolidation: A Key In Energy Efficiency
  • Virtualization: The Greenest of Technologies
  • Server Virtualization

"Virtualization can increase hardware utilization by five to 20 times and allows organizations to reduce the number of power-consuming servers."
-- Gartner Data Center Conference, November 2007
The most-significant step most companies can make in their quest for green IT is in IT virtualization, as briefly mentioned in previous chapters. This chapter describes the significant concepts of virtual servers and virtual data storage for energy-efficient data centers. The descriptions include VMware and other server virtualization considerations. In addition, the virtual IT world of the future, via grid computing and cloud computing, is discussed.

Although the use of grid computing and cloud computing in your company's data center for mainstream computing might be in the future, some steps toward that technology for mainstream computing within your company are here now. Server clusters via VMware's VMotion and IBM's PowerVM partition mobility are here now and used in many company data centers. Both of those technologies are described in this chapter.

Based on my experience with data centers for more than ten years, I believe the most important reason to use virtualization is for IT flexibility. The cost- and energy-savings due to consolidating hardware and software are also significant benefits and nicely complement the flexibility benefits.

There are many aspects to IT virtualization. This chapter structure covers the rational, server virtualization, storage virtualization, client virtualization, grid and cloud concepts, cluster architecture for virtual systems, and conclusions.

Over the past 30 or more years, data centers have gone from housing exclusively large mainframe computers to housing hundreds of smaller servers running versions of the Windows operating system or Unix® or Linux® operating systems. Often the smaller servers were originally distributed throughout the company, with small Windows servers available for each department in a company. During the past few years, for reasons of support, security, and more-efficient operations, most of these distributed servers have moved back to the central data center.