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Virtual Reality: Boost Productivity Now

Virtualization, with its ability to seamlessly and dynamically share physical resources to emulate one type of resource on another and to make multiple resources act as one can translate into substantial savings of time, money and people.

Initially, most IT professionals focus on the potential for higher server utilization—a substantial savings in and of itself. Historically, IT departments have added new servers to accommodate usage spikes and their organization's predicted growth. Frequently, the end result has been underused servers, but virtualization can raise those rates substantially, said according to industry executives.

"You can drive costs down by driving utilization up. The typical data center is about 15 percent utilized," said Nick Vanderzweep, director of virtualization and utility computing at Hewlett Packard Co, Cupertino, Calif. "If you can flow resources, you can build that use up to 30, 60 or even 70 percent."

Higher utilization translates directly to a lowering of total hardware costs, and promises that companies can triple or quadruple their cost savings, said Jim Rymarczyk, IBM Corp. fellow and chief virtualization technology for the systems and technology group of IBM in Austin, Texas.

Fewer servers also create space savings. "When you have a more efficient server platform you need less physical servers," said Les Wyman, senior technical staff member, of the eServer architecture group, at IBM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. "Virtualization allows you to use the [technology] that you have bought very efficiently, and to collapse the number of server footprints that you would have had."

Particularly in large installations, server virtualization also results in noteworthy cost-savings from less power usage. "Reduced electrical requirements can be a big deal, depending on the total number of servers," said Wyman. "To the degree that you can collapse down to fewer electrical pieces, it can come into significant savings from a business perspectiveand it is something that very large companies look at as a metric."

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