01 May 2011
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The Green Cloud – And Virtualisation

Running a green-conscious business can be more than just a one-off money saving exercise. Businesses need to seriously consider how to operate more efficiently and environmentally friendly in the long-term rather than implementing one or two short-term solutions or initiatives which will assist this month’s bottom line.Implementing green solutions can have a very positive impact on the bottom line, but that shouldn’t be the key motive in either the sales pitch or the business reasons for implementing the solution. By supporting and executing green initiatives, the channel can engage further with existing and potential customers as the business benefits of these solutions can assist their clients in being more economically and environmentally sustainable.Businesses should be asking how green technologies can help them improve their operational performance. Through virtualisation and cloud computing infrastructure, businesses can significantly reduce their environmental impact. Virtualisation not only offers business significant cost savings, it also contributes significantly to productivity improvements.At the most basic level, server virtualization enables businesses of all sizes to run multiple virtual servers simultaneously on a single physical server. The cost savings associated with initial server consolidation efforts are significant. Being able to run multiple virtual machines on each physical machine directly affects the bottom line by dramatically reducing hardware and software needs.Virtualisation can reduce energy costs by up to 80%. How? Firstly, every server virtualised saves 7000kWh of electricity annually. It is also possible to "power down” servers automatically without affecting applications or users.Virtualising a single physical computer is just the beginning. You can build an entire virtual infrastructure, scaling across hundreds of interconnected physical computers and storage devices, by using a virtualisation platform as the foundation for building private, public or hybrid clouds.Cloud computing allows you to access software and information from your computer and other devices on demand. It offers businesses greater scalability on demand to meet business needs (provisioning computing capacity at short notice), reduced investments in hardware and infrastructure costs, and the ability to reduce carbon footprints. Businesses can utilise both public and private clouds and can benefit from cloud capabilities within their own environment, as well as from external clouds.Businesses benefit from virtualisation and cloud computing as they have greater access to new technologies and disaster recovery tools without the need for upgrading to bigger and better hardware. Another huge benefit of virtualisation is the removal of the need for maintenance downtime, which can in turn improve business performance. All maintenance changes and application upgrades can be done without interrupting the system, and reaches users instantly.Virtualisation also enables your workforce to be much more mobile. Users are free to access their desktops securely and remotely from any location, using varied devices – from laptops and, increasingly, from smartphones and tablet devices. The benefits include greater flexibility for staff and allocation of workspaces. Ironically, being much more mobile actually reduces the need for travel, leading to lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions.Finally, while IT hardware continues to evolve at a tremendous speed, lifecycles of the equipment continue to become shorter, resulting in burgeoning amounts of e-waste. By reducing your need for new hardware, you will be reducing the amount of e-waste being generated by your business.While the business and green benefits of virtualisation for businesses are tangible, successfully integrating virtualisation and green solutions (into a business) follows the same rules as being successful in any aspect of business. It is vital that you do your homework to ensure you are pursuing the most appropriate platforms for your business’s activities and needs.  www.vmware.co.nz

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