Virtualization carries multiple benefits including increased efficiency of IT assets, but its full potential could be left unfilled unless supporting steps are taken with data center infrastructure. That’s the central theme from a new You Tube video from Schneider Electric entitled, “Four ways to maximize virtualization savings.”
The video does more than describe the problem; it lays out a path to solve it spanning four key areas:
- right-sizing of infrastructure;
- high efficiency power;
- in-row cooling; and
- data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software.
As most experts involved in data center solutions know, virtualization delivers a bigger IT computing punch from the same amount of physical IT assets. If the power and cooling is left untouched after a virtualization deployment, the reduced IT loads tend to leave existing power & cooling infrastructure oversized.
As the video explains, companies that have undergone virtualization projects often end up with the unintended consequence of a degraded “Power Usage Effectiveness” measure—the metric that tracks the proportion of total power use applied to the IT load. Again, a key reason for this tends to be unused power & cooling capacity whose “fixed losses” skew the PUE in an adverse direction, even if the IT assets are consuming less energy.
But such problems also represent opportunity. As the video explains, best practice approaches include tapping higher efficiency power components, such as modular uninterruptable power system (UPS) units. Some of these modular units can run at typical loads with 70 percent less energy loss compared to legacy UPSs.
Another avenue for improvement the video explains is the deployment of modular, row-based cooling. Row-based cooling efficiently captures heat as it leaves each rack, and delivers cool air to the servers. As the video points out, modular cooling can accommodate both high and low server densities, adjusting fan speeds to match the cooling needs.
The final step is use of DCIM to handle functions such as monitoring and measuring infrastructure performance, initiating load shifts, as well as planning and capacity management. The video explains how DCIM, by communicating with virtual machine manager software layers from major VM vendors, can align power and cooling resources with the constantly changing requirements seen in virtualized data center environments.
We know the market is beyond the “dabbling” stage with virtualization. According a recent post from a Gartner analyst, virtualization is near 50 percent market penetration.