Why virtualisation in the cloud is good for the climate.

Data centers worldwide are estimated to consume 350 to 400 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year, or about one percent of global electricity consumption. On the one hand, digitization and the cloud have a large share in the exponential increase in data center traffic. On the other hand, cloud computing and especially virtualization technologies offer excellent solutions to this problem.

  #Virtualization   #Cloud Services   #Cloud Strategy   #VMware  
Massimo Castelberg
+41 58 510 16 03

The U.S. Department of Energy has calculated that data centers consume 200 times more energy than all offices in the U.S. combined[i]. This high level of energy consumption, together with the production of a lot of heat, calls their sustainability into question. In a study, the renowned science magazine Nature predicts that, without appropriate countermeasures, the power consumption of data centers would increase 15-fold by the year 2030 - which would correspond to around eight percent of the projected worldwide electricity demand[ii].


Digital transformation requires - and conserves - energy

Word has long spread that digital business transformation is a necessity to compete by increasing business agility and operational efficiency. Successful digitalization processes are based on the foundations of modern infrastructure paradigms such as virtualization, cloud computing, containers, serverless infrastructure, and innovations such as artificial intelligence. This requires a lot of energy for the data centers involved. However, this energy consumption has been reduced by digitization measures. Above all, this is achieved by virtualization technologies, which form the basis for many modern data centers. In addition, dynamic provisioning environments, multi-tenancy, and green data center technologies help reduce energy consumption for cloud computing data centers.


The cloud reduces energy consumption in companies

The cloud itself helps companies consume significantly less energy. By hosting certain on-premises applications in the cloud, medium and large enterprises can significantly reduce their direct energy consumption.[iii]. Several factors contribute to this. Among them are the higher average utilization of the physical server machines through virtualization, an environmentally friendly power supply for the servers with renewable energy sources, and the energy-efficient use of the servers when providing cloud services.

However, an energy-efficient concept for a data center considers all elements of energy consumption. This includes not only IT infrastructures, but also heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as building location, design, and construction. Operations should be designed to be as efficient as possible, and equipment should be powered by renewable energy sources wherever possible.


Virtualization reduces energy consumption

By virtualizing compute, storage, and networking, enterprises can move to modern software-defined data centers that use a cloud operating model for better agility, flexibility, utilization, and scalability.  Enterprises are relying on virtualized environments for a variety of workloads, including mission-critical applications and new cloud-native containerized applications. While early virtualizations focused on server consolidation and increased server utilization, the concept has expanded to storage and networking by now. VMware, the leader in virtualization technology, for example, created NSX, a network virtualization and security platform that enables virtual cloud networking and improves server utilization, increases energy efficiency, and eliminates the need for physical appliances and their resource consumption.[iv]


Billions of megawatts not consumed

IDC research shows that VMware's portfolio of infrastructure virtualization technologies is making a significant contribution to reducing energy consumption worldwide[v]. According to an IDC estimate, by using VMware virtualization technology, enterprises worldwide have been able to avoid deploying 142 million servers and save 2.4 billion megawatts of energy and eliminate 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2003 and 2020. Using VMware virtualization technology (which is also used in the UMB cloud), organizations can reduce both their energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 40 percent system-wide.


UMB and VMware for your virtualization project

UMB is a VMware Zero Carbon Committed provider[vi]. UMB cloud services are already running in data centers that rely exclusively on renewable energy. With our services and cloud, we help you achieve supply chain sustainability goals, optimize your competitive position, and meet both customer and regulatory requirements. With VMware and UMB, you can run any application, regardless of location. As a VMware Principal Partner with Data Center Virtualization Master Service Competency, we not only have the highest partner status, but also offer you superior expertise, years of experience and excellent relationships with VMware. UMB will bring your virtualization project to a successful conclusion.


Download flyer now!


[i] Path to net-zero: Datacenter demands push Amazon, Big Tech toward renewables | S&P Global

[ii] A sustainable and secure load management model for green cloud data centres | Scientific Reports

[iii] What Is Green Computing, Can It Save Our Planet - Dataconomy

[iv] What is VMware NSX? | Network Security Virtualization Platform

[v] Enabling More Agile and Sustainable Business Through Carbon-Efficient Digital Transformations

[vi] Zero Carbon Committed (vmware.com)

What to look for in your cloud partner

The public cloud plays a central role when it comes to achieving sustainability goals. Here are four factors to consider when evaluating your cloud partner.

  • Make sure the cloud providers are active members of a sustainability initiative (for example, Science Based Target Initiative or VMware Zero Carbon Committed).
  • Require your cloud providers to actively monitor and report on CO2 emissions.
  • Expect return on investment and cost effectiveness from cloud providers and their respective sustainability efforts.
  • Prefer cloud partners with supporting capabilities such as sustainable software development, highly virtualized infrastructures, and tools for accelerated cloud adoption.