In a world where political forces seem bent on saving the world from either real or imaginary threats of global warming and climate change, corporations are pressured to reduce their carbon footprint and the impact their activities have on the environment.
With all the publicity and controversy surrounding environmental activism, many people seem to associate "green" initiatives with mountains of government red tape and increased cost. Although this may be true in some industries, virtualization offers tremendous benefits when best practices are used not only for the corporate bottom line but also for the conservation of the earth's resources. The "green" benefits are primarily twofold.
First, virtualization reduces the amount of physical hardware needed to run an IT operation. From data centers to enterprise servers, a single modern server can now run several virtual servers, sometimes with higher performance than they would have if each server was on its own hardware platform. This benefits the earth because less raw materials and electricity are used in the production process.
A lower number of total hardware units means less fossil fuels are needed to warehouse and transport server hardware. Finally, fewer hardware platforms in service means that fewer machines end up in landfills where they take up space and potentially leak dangerous chemicals.
The other environmental advantage of virtualization comes in the form of reduced energy requirements. Especially with so-called "cap and trade" regulations being implemented by the government, energy costs are skyrocketing, making data centers and IT divisions a flash point for runaway costs. Through virtualization, fewer hardware servers are required to support a growing number of virtualized servers, reducing overall energy consumption. Furthermore, servers optimized for virtualization are now commonplace, implementing the latest power management technology to reduce the environmental footprint of IT.