Is it Time to Turn off your Servers?

My article in TechNet is live, “Is it time to Turn off your Servers?”

One of the simplest ways to achieve energy savings on desktops and laptops is to turn them off (or even use the sleep or hibernation feature). Users have accepted the idea that turning off their devices is a small step that can have significant results. But the idea of turning off your servers—that's a pretty new topic that people

haven't entirely embraced yet. Currently, only small numbers of IT departments shut down servers, but this practice is starting to change. More organizations are taking advantage of the energy savings of server shutdown.

Why would you turn off a server? In general, an idle server consumes about half the amount of power consumed by a server running under high load. Server utilization for most data centers runs in the range of 10 to 20 percent, which means there are a lot of machines idling (systems using energy, but not being used).

Of course, the idea of turning off servers raises some important questions. I'm not suggesting that you shut down Web servers and other critical servers that should be running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So what type of machines can you turn off? To help give you an idea, I'd like to share some real-world examples of what some organizations have implemented to cut down on system idle time and reduce energy consumption.

In this article I mention people I know of who are experimenting with turning off servers at Weill Medical College at Cornell University, Citrix, and Microsoft Research.

I’ll have another article in the Aug TechNet, and as soon as it is released and I will blog myself. :-)