Are Your Data Centers Keeping You From Sustainability?

4 min read

Automating application resource management should be your first step in the sustainability journey.

Imagine driving your car to work, parking it in the parking lot and then leaving it running all day long just because you might step out for lunch at some point. If you manage a data center and leave applications running that you’re using periodically, you’re in essence doing the same thing — wasting money and energy.

Data centers account for 1% of the world’s electricity use and are one of the fastest-growing global consumers of electricity. On top of this, almost every data center in the world is dramatically overprovisioned. The average rate of server utilization is only 12-18% of capacity. The smart way to address the issue is to automate application resource management, which assures application performance and increases your data center’s utilization. This materially reduces cost and energy use.

Let application performance drive sustainability and green data centers

For today’s modern business, its applications are its business. Maintaining performance is key to achieving growth. Application resource management software is designed to continuously analyze every layer of applications’ resource utilization to ensure applications get what they need to perform, when they need it. This not only ensures performance quality and reliability, but it also saves money and energy. Electricity accounts for as much as 70% of total data center operating costs, according to the Barclays Equity Research report Green Data Centers: Beyond Net Zero.

The National Resource Defense Council suggests that increasing server utilization is one of the industry’s biggest energy-saving opportunities. When you increase server utilization, you naturally decrease the number of servers you have to power and cool, which saves electricity.

Cutting data center electricity consumption by 40% would save 46 billion kwh of electricity annually. That’s enough to power the U.S. state of Michigan for a year — no small feat when you consider it’s the home of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, as well as the University of Michigan, Michigan State and a sprawling Google Campus. If you increase utilization by 40% in a 100,000 square foot facility, it’s like getting an extra 40,000 square feet for free.

Why every data center should be automating application resource management

Application resource management tools use software to manage your app stack automatically, optimizing performance, compliance and cost in real-time — all while managing business constraints.

Every business and IT leader can set the pace towards sustainability and green computing, starting with their data centers. By automating application resource management, organizations can ensure every application is resourced to perform at its optimal level without being overutilized. But what should you look for in a software solution? These three capabilities are key:

  • Optimization must be actionable and continuous.
  • Automation needs to be trusted and applied for prevention of performance risk and environmental impact.
  • Solutions must be able to manage across hybrid cloud and multicloud environments.

Hear how one data center manager is leading the way in modern, green data centers without compromising performance.

You don’t need to be a large enterprise to take advantage of application resource management software

In early 2016, the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) thought it might need to purchase new hardware for its data center in order to address poor application performance. Budget constraints forced them to consider alternatives.

BPS solution provider Gateway Systems Limited believed BPS could operate their virtualized environment far more effectively and efficiently with the help of IBM Turbonomic’s Operations Manager, software that creates a virtual marketplace for data center resources and assigns them based on application priority. It automates hundreds of daily workload placements, as well as sizing and capacity decisions. This keeps the data center in a healthy state and ensures that only required host servers are active at any given point in time.

In addition to addressing the problem of poor application performance, the software made far more effective use of BPS’s existing host servers. IBM Turbonomic freed up enough server resources to run an additional 412 virtual machines, and it ultimately allowed BPS to decommission and remove 16 Cisco UCS blade servers with 32 total CPU sockets — 67% of its hosts. Doing so eliminated all associated hardware maintenance costs and software licensing costs, including an estimated $11,600 per year for VMWare licenses. As a welcome side effect, UPS standby time increased from 12 to 26 minutes.

Cisco’s UCS Power Calculator estimates the direct energy savings from removing 16 host servers (32 sockets) at 4,550 watts, assuming average server utilization of 60%. At BPS’s electricity rate of $0.40 per kWh, that comes to nearly $16,000 in annual savings.

Why every data center should be running IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management

IBM Turbonomic can support your business through assured application performance while reducing cost and carbon footprint. Data center optimization is a great place to start. For example, IBM Turbonomic can increase virtual machine density to achieve the same level of performance with fewer resources, thereby allowing customers to suspend the number of hosts or repurpose. If you’re further along in your cloud journey, it allows you to migrate on-prem workloads safely to the cloud and continuously optimize cloud consumption, thereby saving on carbon footprint.

In a Total Economic Impact study of IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management, Forrester found that clients see a 75% improvement in infrastructure utilization and avoided required infrastructure growth spend by 70%. Forrester also noted that optimizing application resource consumption in the data center or the public cloud improves an organization’s long-term energy consumption profile, contributing to environmental sustainability. IBM Turbonomic clients see a payback in under 6 months and a 471% ROI.

In summary

You don’t have to compromise between carbon neutrality and application performance. When applications consume only what they need to perform, you can trim costs and materially reduce your carbon footprint immediately and continuously.

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