Data Center managers, who think server virtualization leads to energy savings, should think twice before going with this conclusion. The fact is virtualization offers more balance between energy efficiency and performance, only when coupled with carefully planning.
Traditionally speaking, a single server may host a number of virtualization clients with loads increasing and decreasing sporadically and this may not really bring in savings in practical, when it comes to energy efficiency.
According to an article in CIO Asia, metrics such as PUE can be misleading in virtualized environments, and efforts to improve PUE at the server level can become excessively complex and counter-productive.
So, it’s better to combine device level optimization with a holistic system-level view, possible by using a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool.
The CIO Asia article advices the data center managers to use DCIM in four steps to reap in the best in order to attain energy efficiency.
- First audit the equipment deployed and also keep a track of its performance. Nowadays, all DCIM tools offer an intuitive interface for capturing all data points associated with each asset such as size location, power consumption and cooling needs.
- Go with a strategy of grouping low-performing servers and the ones which are high performing. For mid to low range servers, the manager must decide on which to virtualize while trying to balance efficiency motives and honoring performance requirements. The challenge will be to define reasonable power capping policy for each category of servers.
- Now, involve testing possible strategies. Start with the least aggressive policy and verify its results before moving on to more aggressive policies, advises the article.
- Finally, after all policies have been applied, the data center manager can tune the physical infrastructure, using the DCIM tools.
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