Power management could help businesses save $18.6B

Virtualization has made server shutdowns more difficult to manage, but companies shouldn't overlook the potential to cut costs by managing electricity consumption more closely.

It has been weeks since one of the power management software companies pinged me with news about a recent mega-customer win, so I was somewhat startled to read earlier today that a new report from Pike Research predicts the market for utilities that manage PC or computer server power consumption will grow by almost five times between now and 2015.

Pike Research doesn't get all hung up on what that will mean for the software developers that create and sell this stuff, rather its report ("PC and Server Power Management Software") highlights the potential benefit of power management for businesses. It figures that companies could save $18.6 billion in electricity costs or 191 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity by focusing on shutting down technology or ratcheting down its power consumption when it is not in use.

The complicating factors in all this, of course, are the urgent need for reliability and productivity. There is still a perception in the market that shutting down a desktop system when it is not in use will somehow get in the way of people doing their jobs.

The situation is much more complicated on the server side, of course. As more server hardware has been virtualized, capacity utilization has increased -- which is one of the points, of course. However, it also means that it is harder to figure out what piece of hardware is handling a particular task, which means it is kind of hard to figure out which server to shut down, and when.

When it comes down to it, power management really is about good management of an IT infrastructure. Period. It is just one more factor within all the various factors that an IT organization needs to consider. So maybe one of the reasons that I have heard less about this category lately is because more businesses now consider power management within their broader systems management agenda.

Still, that $18.6 billion number is pretty compelling. So maybe power management -- even if it is within the context of your broader systems management plan and not handled as some separate software application or utility-- is worth some deeper consideration?


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