Too often, we try to evaluate IT costs as a simple sum of hardware and software costs. But there’s actually much more to the total cost of ownership.
First of all, there’s the real-estate costs associated with storing these systems. These days, it’s not uncommon for the average datacenter building costs to range as high as $1000 or more per square foot. And density is another problem since servers need breathing room. For a simple rack that might take up only about 7 square feet, you’ll probably end up needing over 25 square feet just to accommodate for ventilation and cabling.
On top of this, we also need to consider other ownership costs that come with physical infrastructure. Although most servers will only ever reach about 5% utilization, they still need to be cooled and powered 24/7. With rising energy costs and tightening IT budgets, this can be a real challenge.
A recent study by Gartner revealed that insufficient power and insufficient cooling were the 2 biggest facility challenges faced by datacenters.
As equipment becomes denser, it also requires more power and generates more heat. As companies load up their datacenters with more new physical servers, they can quickly exceed the original anticipated power requirements before they’ve filled the room to its holding capacity. When this happens, expensive new renovations or even a newly constructed datacenter will be required.
In order to keep datacenter costs low, companies need to make better use of this space and its resources. Power consumption needs to go down, and the number of physical boxes needs to be kept to an absolute minimum.
With virtualization, dozens of machines can be combined into a single device. This way, instead of having 10 different boxes running at 5% utilization, you can combine 10 machines into a single box that does much more work.
This methodology greatly reduced power and cooling costs, since you don’t need to power these systems the other 95% of the time when they’re not being used. Server resources get used much more effectively. This reduced power consumption will help stretch out the life of your datacenter without having to make any infrastructure changes or move to a new facility.
Another benefit of this approach is that virtualization allows these virtual machines to be packed tightly together into a single box. This reduces the total floor space required for racks, ventilation and cabling. It’s not uncommon for companies to reduce their floor space usage by 80% or more this way.
And finally, maintenance costs are also reduced because you have fewer physical devices to maintain.
The maintenance, power and space savings offered by virtualization are a great way to extend the life and functionality of your datacenter while also reducing the total cost of ownership for your IT infrastructure.