What is it?
Banks of computer servers occupy offices, schools, and data centers across the country to enable people to send email, store and navigate files, play games, or a million other tasks.
Often each task is assigned its own individual server. For example, separate physical servers might exist for file storage, mail, games, and printers. Each of these servers may only operate at 5-10% of their total computing power, yet use 60% of their maximum power usage. The most common method of reducing this inefficiency is server virtualization.
How does it work?
Server virtualization combines multiple servers onto a single physical server. Each server can be electronically compartmentalized (virtualized) and managed to distribute processing power. For example, one physical server could host separate websites, email, and storage on virtual servers, using 60-70% of its total computing power, while only using a little more energy than if it was only using 5-10% of its total computing power.
What are the most appropriate applications?
The best applications are facilities with significant data centers or computing needs, such as hospitals, universities, or large offices. Any facility using server equipment could benefit.
What are the savings?
Savings for server virtualization will depend on the number of physical servers and how much they can be consolidated, but savings up to 80% or more are achievable.
What are the non-energy benefits?
The biggest non-energy benefit for server virtualization is reducing the amount of space required for physical servers. Server virtualization can also reduce maintenance downtime.
What is the cost?
Costs for server virtualization include software and labor for setting up and maintaining the equipment. It is often much cheaper than the cost of a physical server.
What is the status/availability of the technology?
This technology is readily available through multiple vendors.
What kinds of incentives/programs are available?
Server virtualization is often the lowest first-cost option for new construction projects and not eligible for rebate programs. If servers are virtualized to a location off-site, they would also be ineligible. For retrofit applications, server virtualization may be eligible for custom or prescriptive programs.