Thursday, 26 July 2007

Power efficiency with virtual servers

Kevin, our Systems Manager, has been evaluating some interesting technology that should not only make his job easier, but also save some power as well.

VMware provide arange of server virtualisation products that allow you to run multiple operating system instances on one instance of hardware.

There are number of servers sitting in our production network performing essential roles (Windows Domain Control, DNS Services, monitoring, etc) that do not result in heavy hardware utilisation. From a utilisation point of view the services could easily run on one server. The problem with these services however, is they're not necessarily good bed fellows and are recommended to run on separate boxes. These services also need to be resilient so 2 servers are required for each service.

Enter VMware, their technology sits between the hardware and the operating system unlike Windows Virtual Server which is an operating system service. This means any OS can be installed side by side, ideal in our environment where we do have some Linux servers in place.

If the technology passes our evaluation, 6 servers that were running 3 services in a resiliant architecture can become 2. 3 virtual servers on each box each 'side' running a copy of the other.

So we need less hardware which also means less power (see Power is the currency). Instead of 6 servers consuming power just to sit around and do very little. 2 servers are running optimally, reducing the consumption by at least 50%.

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