Virtualization and it’s implications for power supply

We have often blogged about cloud computing in recent months, but the cloud is not the only buzzword in the datacenter and power industry right now. The other one is: virtualization.

In a general definition virtualization enhances flexibility and agility by detaching workloads and data from the functional side of physical infrastructure. Possibilities abound for networks, storage, servers and desktops, but virtualization also involves substantial upfront investment. Virtualization continues to deliver IT savings and efficiencies, and is the foundation for many IT initiatives.

According to several reports by analyst firm Gartner, nearly 80 percent of server workloads supported by x86 hardware will be running on virtual machines (VMs) by 2016.

But what are the implications for power supply under these circumstances?

During our research on this issue we found this article by Eaton’s Hervé Tardy. He points out four problems that may occur with virtualization:

First, overall power consumption may be lower, but each server draws more power. Second, each enclosure draws more power than ever. Third, workloads can be dynamically reallocated, but the support infrastructure can’t do the same.

And fourth: Higher rack densities may exceed available UPS capacity.

Tardy on that:

“In traditional data center designs, one or two large, three-phase UPSs stood alone in a separate room, providing conditioned power and battery backup for the whole data center, perhaps even the entire building. With virtualization, the capacity of the existing, centralized UPSs can become a bottleneck to computing efforts, especially as redundancy becomes more important, owing to the resulting cluster of high-density racks in a data center that was designed for lower-density racks.

To solve this problem: Enclosure-based UPS systems with power densities of 2kW or more per U can meet these new high-density computing demands. Modular, scalable UPS systems can be deployed in a variety of system architectures for centralized, zone or distributed power protection, along with the needed redundancy to meet business objectives. If you combine the UPS with a high-powered distribution system, you can deliver power to loads of various voltages, power cords and layouts with flexibility.”

Read the whole article on The Datacenter Journal»

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