Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Virtualize for a Greener Business

By John Burton

Companies can reap cost-savings through a new generation of technologies that greatly reduce carbon footprints. The benefit of “virtualization” has been embraced in most large businesses but only 37% of small businesses take advantage of this technology today.

Virtualization, in computing, involves creating a virtual (rather than actual) software layer on the computer. This virtual process often takes place on the server but can also be used to create a virtual PC as well. Many key functions such as email or accounting can be combined onto fewer servers which will allow them to operate at a higher utilization rate.

So why should small to medium-sized businesses virtualize?

A company can buy fewer servers.

As a company grows it typically adds more servers to perform individual tasks on the network

Each server has a utilization rate of 6 to 12%. Combining these functions eliminates the need to buy other servers

Fewer servers mean that about five fewer hardware components are needed.

This can yield a 30 to 40% energy savings as well as significant cost savings

Wise power management can now detect an unused virtual machine and allow it to be ‘powered down’ to reduce even more resources

The result is less energy use

Desktop computers can also be virtualized which means they will remain always on without wasting energy on each machine.

If your computer “sleeps” when it isn’t being used, not only is there energy savings but also the machine will last longer, and the company can invest in less expensive computers because they won’t need to be energy-intensive.

Virtualizing the desktops facilitates the distribution of new software and upgrades to all the company’s users from a central location.

“Cloud” service vendors are highly motivated to use energy efficiently and are expected to grow dramatically in the next several years.

These vendors use energy gains through virtualization and other power efficiencies to lower environmental impact without sacrificing reliability.

By moving to an energy-efficient Cloud vendor, all businesses can make a meaningful reduction in their carbon footprint.

The energy-hogging servers of the past are no longer necessary for any size  organization to yield the required performance and capacity. Any small business can now migrate to more energy-efficient configurations incorporating virtualization technology and other sustainability practices. As the “green” movement continues to build steam, even the smallest of businesses are tapping technology to save money, boost energy efficiency and preserve the environment.

John Burton is President of NPI in South Burlington Vermont. NPI is a technology management company improving the performance of businesses with a triple  bottom line of people, planet and profit.

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