Application virtualization and green computing

Application virtualization and green computing

Summary: As mentioned in my post titled, Virtualization and Green Computing, green computing the industry catch phrase for finding ways to make the most efficient use of computing resources. In this post, I'd like to look at application virtualization and the role it plays in green computing.

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As mentioned in my post titled, Virtualization and Green Computing, green computing the industry catch phrase for finding ways to make the most efficient use of computing resources. In this post, I'd like to look at application virtualization and the role it plays in green computing.

Application virtualization, by the way, is using hardware and software to break the link between an application or application component and the underlying machine(s). Typically, this is implemented in an application framework. Sometimes it is implemented using a combination of virtual machine software or a partitioned operating system and sophisticated system management software that understands virtualized environments and workload optimization.

Application frameworks allow applications or application components to run in a protected, multi-platform environment. The applications no longer have to be aware of the underlying operating system. Quite often, application frameworks provide a workload management capability that allow multiple instances of an application or its underlying components to be running on the network somewhere. As the workload increases, as something fails or for any other reason the overall application is not meeting service level agreements, the work can simply be routed to another instance.

Sophisticated management software that understands both processing virtualization and workload optimization can do something quite similar. In this case, entire partitions or virtual machines are deployed. Once again, as the workload increases, as something fails or for any other reason the overall environment is not meeting service level objectives, the work can simply be routed to another machine.

How does this type of software help organizations create a green computing environment? As with other types of virtualization, consolidating work and powering down unneeded systems can help create a green computing environment. This is happening at an application, not a processing or physical machine level.

As with other forms of virtualization, this is not new. It's been an important part of most datacenters for the past 15 or 20 years or so. Suppliers such as BEA, IBM, JBoss (now part of Red Hat) and several open source communities have offered application frameworks that abstract applications away from the underlying operating system. Suppliers such as Cassatt, DataSynapse, Scalent, SteelEye, Surgient, VMware, XenSource and quite a few others are approaching this by managing virtual machines or partitioned operating systems to present similar capabilities but, built upon a different foundation.

The careful use of this software can help organizations reduce hardware, maintenance and administrative costs while also helping preserve the endangered kilowatt and preventing the release of the dreaded BTU, Calorie or Joule.

If gaining these benefits required rewriting your applications, would your organization do it? How is your organization using application virtualization to create a green computing environment?

Topics: Virtualization, Data Centers, IBM, Operating Systems, Software

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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2 comments
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  • Green only if you change the box

    Today's application virtualization is another way to deliver software to a user upon request, like an Active X on steroids, or a decentralized Citrix, or a Windows wandering profile. It does nothing by itself to reduce energy use unless you change your hardware. In fact, like Citrix, it may increase energy usage, if you now require a app server to deliver the software which could have been installed permanently on the user's PC. However, if you replace the user's conventional PC by a terminal or diskless PC, then you do go green and cut power consumption.

    Of course the big payoff to application virtualizaion is cutting TCO -- saving the *human* energy of running around to debug apps installed on individual PCs...
    Ken Novak
    • I'm confused

      I believe there's a confusion here between access virtualization and application virtualization. Citrix, Windows Remote Access and hardware-based approaches such as those offered by ClearCube, NeoWare and HP BladePC solutions fit into that category.

      If application virtualization tools consolidate workloads and then power down unused boxes, wouldn't that result in reduced power consumption?
      dkusnetzky1