APC Launches Virtualisation Energy Cost Calculator

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Businesses looking to lower their data centre’s power usage can now use a free online tool that will help them calculate the number of physical machines needed for virtualised environments

As enterprises face up to the looming carbon reduction commitment (CRC), APC by Schneider Electric has launched what it is calling the Virtualization Energy Cost Calculator, to enable lower energy use in the data centre.

The online tool, which is free of charge, is available from the company’s Data Center Efficiency Portal. The thinking behind it is that it will assist companies that are make decisions regarding the physical requirements of their virtualised IT workloads.

“Server virtualisation strategies will gain additional momentum as the Carbon Reduction Scheme incentivises larger private and public enterprises to address organisational energy use and efficiency,” said Peter Hannaford, VP Datacenters & Alliances (EMEA/LAM).

“However, while a reduction in energy use can be anticipated as the physical number of machines is consolidated, many companies will fail to maximise their full energy savings entitlement because they have not addressed physical infrastructure requirements as part of their virtualisation programme,” Hannaford said. “To gain the full benefit, both the data centre and the IT load should be addressed as a single, integrated system.”

The calculator tool is being targeted at the early stage of planning a virtualised environment. In line with the recommendations in the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres Efficiency, the tool encompasses both IT and physical infrastructure considerations.

“The Virtualization Energy Cost Calculator is an easy-to-use tool that allows the user to make and alter a number of inputs such as the number of servers, rack space utilisation, system design and energy use in order to assess pre- and post-virtualisation environments,” explained Hannaford. “It has been developed by APC to enable data centre and IT managers to make a ready assessment of the impact of virtualisation upon data centre energy and space.”

It seems that the tool is able to graphically show the differences if power and cooling infrastructure is right-sized to the virtualised workload, and “provides indicative efficiency outputs for both pre- and post-virtualisation environments.”

Earlier this month the Green Grid said it would offer two online tools, free of charge, to help facility and data centre managers keep track of power and cooling efficiency.

In the UK, Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) is due to start in April 2010, but it has faced some stinging criticism of late, most notably from hosting firm UKSolutions, which said it would actually make it more expensive for some companies to move to a more efficient IT option.

Meanwhile IT services provider Morse warned that the introduction of CRC, rather than reducing emissions in the UK, would result in large organisations simply relocating their more emission-heavy operations (such as a data centre) to countries with less stringent regulations.