Virtualization and Consolidation Dominate Data Center Energy Solutions

May 22, 2012

More than 40% of data center consolidation, virtualization, and cloud computing initiatives are driven by the need to cut power consumption and cost, according to this year’s Energy Efficient IT Report by CDW Government, an IT services company.

Virtualization, in which software on a physical server is used to simulate separate virtual servers, is especially popular with respondents – about 65% say they use this cost-cutting process.

Top 8 Demand Reduction Strategies


  1. Virtualize servers/storage (65%)

  2. Consolidate servers (60%)

  3. Implement hardware that employs new low-power and/or low-wattage processors (46%)

  4. Install ENERGY STAR devices (44%)

  5. Deploy more power-efficient networking equipment (31%)

  6. Employ energy-efficient/load-shedding uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) (28%)

  7. Use new cooling approaches, such as in-aisle cooling, hot/cold aisle containment, and water cooling (23%)

  8. Increase use of hosted services (17%)

Respondents were asked to select all actions their organizations are taking to reduce data center power demand/energy consumption.

The study shows considerable rewards for proactive decisions on energy efficiency. Roughly 54% of respondents either have or are developing defined and enforced strategies to manage power demand and energy consumption in the data center.

Of those who have already implemented such a program, 75% are noticing lower IT energy costs. Respondents credit virtualized servers and storage with cutting energy consumption by an average of 28%, followed by new cooling approaches at 22%.

Additional savings are likely when these ideas are used together as a multi-layered solution, the authors note.

Like many departments, IT professionals unfortunately face an uphill battle when requesting capital funding for efficiency investments. Asked to name significant barriers to using energy more efficiently in IT operations, 56% claim there was not enough money left in the budget for new systems and 50% say senior management prioritizes investments in other areas over IT.

Beyond the obstacle of small budgets, the respondents agree that cloud computing could become a valuable tool in the future. About 62% agree that utilizing the cloud is an energy-efficient approach to consolidation – up from 47% in 2010. Cloud building blocks, such as server virtualization, will prepare organizations for the next level of efficiency, the study authors noted.

The analysis was based on a survey of 760 IT professionals from both the private and public sector.

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