We all know that you need to turn off your computer when you leave your home to cut carbon emissions; but is it also applicable to power-hungry servers that are stored in a data center? Is it necessary to turn those off when we’re not using them?
Contemporary wisdom in the IT industry expresses that you should never switch off a server, because it may fail to come back online again when needed. Some companies are now exploring whether we can safely turn off underused servers, slashing carbon emissions and energy use in the process. The basis of this method may come from software that automatically turn off or hibernate desktops that would have been left turned on overnight without compromising users’ work. It is possible to apply this approach to huge data centers and turn off underused servers
In general the introduction of virtualization software may allow firms to run online apps on “virtual machines” which can be transferred between different servers during a shutdown process, it would be technically feasible to automatically transfer applications without any data loss. There should be also an ability to track energy consumption used by each server and to determine which server to shut down.
Modern servers use power management systems but IT departments are either reluctant to turn them on or unaware of them. The software should be able to analyze whether a server is running under a very light load, it would use the power management system to lower the CPU or fan speed and lower power consumption. With a good power management systems, data centers can cut electricity use by about of 15 per cent and further savings realized by equal cuts in the energy for cooling system.
Of course, it would be a challenge to win over IT managers and convince them to use the technology. However, in the long run, the technology may deliver noticeable cuts in the carbon footprint and energy consumption, simply by turning off servers that are working far below its full capacity. Many professionals are reluctant to use power management in the large data centers, but they should be aware that this technology will be available soon and the potential benefits are significant.