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While Virtualization has received all sorts of attention, and more than its fair share of hype, there are real savings to be had with it, and not just of money.


This is an update to "Real World Virtualization" from June 15th, 2007.


It would not be hyperbole or understatement to say that Virtualization gets a great deal of press. A huge amount. Volumes and Volumes. As a VM system programmer I find most of it to be slightly amusing. Anywhere from flat out wrong to claiming to cure all the ills of the data center and Cancer besides.


What is real is that Virtualization of X86 hardware can save a company a great deal of money, and even better these days, a great deal of power. I already ran the numbers in "Real World Virt" so I am not going to beat that to death. Today I just want to report a real world result:


100 KVA



Since June of last year, that is how much power we have dropped off the primary R&D Central UPS by decommissioning servers. Real servers. We do *not* have fewer OS images running around here. Quite the opposite: We have more. What we have fewer off is 1993-1995 vintage, older less efficient power supply, slower computers that we were using for things like synthetic workload generation and various other non-benchmark non-device driver related applications. Literally hundred of computers have left the building.


Not all of these are X86 either. Some have been IBM Power series stuff, where the new P5 generation gear has allowed us to begin to do virtualization of more recent AIX images as well.


100 KVA can not easily be turned back into an exact number of watts without knowing what kind of power supply each computer that was decommissioned had. .8 is probably a good round number though, strictly based on experience with this gear mix in the past. That means 80 Kilowatts or 80,000 Watts have "left the building". 80 KW reduction is 160 pounds of CO2 reduction each and every hour they are off (assuming Coal as the power feedstock). 3,840 pounds per day. 1,401,600 pounds per year. Half those numbers for natural gas as the power generation feedstock, but even then, that is a very serious and very real reduction in the amount of CO2 being added to the atmosphere by R&D activities at BMC. And this is just Houston: We have been doing the same thing at our other R&D locations across the globe.


This of course will also save BMC money, and it is funny how things like that work sometimes: In the push to become more efficient at one thing, the "Law of Unintended Consequences" occasionally has a bright side to it. This one works either way too: Push for cost and space savings, do something good for the whole world. Try to do something good for the Earth (or at least the life forms that live on it), save some money along the way.


PS: Other than P series, I did not mention the technology stack we used for Virtualization here. Mostly that is because it does not matter: You can do this same thing with Virtual Iron, VMWare, Xen, etc. The specific technology of virtualization matters less than just doing it. I do have a post with more specifics coming up about our setup.