See how TSO Logic
simplifies IT transformation.

Our software platforms remove the guesswork so you can now plan with confidence.

See how TSO Logic
simplifies IT transformation.

Our software platforms remove the guesswork so you can now plan with confidence.

Virtual Machines, Not Just Physical Servers, Are Often Asleep at the Wheel

Posted in: Blog

Updated Study on “Zombies” in the Enterprise Shows that Virtual Machines, Not Just Physical Servers, Are Often Asleep at the Wheel.

About two years ago, we teamed up with Anthesis, a global sustainability consultancy, and Jon Koomey, a leading researcher at Stanford University, to conduct an analysis of physical server utilization in real-world data centers. That study found that 30 percent of servers were zombies or comatose — that is, they showed no signs of useful compute activity for six months or more. Data from 4,000 production servers was analyzed by our data-driven software platform, showing that underutilization and server sprawl were costing organizations billions in wasted spending every year. Now, last month, we did a follow-up analysis using a much larger sample size, which also looked at virtual machines (VM).

Here’s what we found:

Key Findings
The new findings show some improvements, as well as a wake-up call. On the upside: enterprises that acted to remove physical zombies when presented with evidence of the magnitude of the problem were able to reduce the amount of comatose servers to eight percent. On the downside: new data shows that some 30 percent of VMs are zombies, demonstrating that the same discovery, measurement, and management challenges that apply to physical servers also apply to VMs.

Costly Implications
While it can be difficult to identify them, zombie servers — both physical and virtual — pose a costly problem for data centers. Eliminating them can lead to major capital and operational savings when one takes into account all the resources needlessly wasted on power, hardware, licenses, maintenance, staffing, and floor space. It can also improve data center security, since zombies are much less likely to have the latest patches. While many believe that virtualization is a silver bullet for achieving higher utilization, our latest findings contradict that. The new data shows that almost one-third of the capital allocated to VMs is generating zero monetary return.

The study confirms that the problem is still not being adequately addressed. The data indicates that one-quarter to one-third of all data center investments are tied up with zombies. Virtualization alone is not enough. Without deploying improved measurement and analytical technologies, the zombie epidemic will continue. That’s where TSO Logic’s algorithmic decision-making engine can really make a difference. Our platform provides unprecedented visibility into IT compute and application delivery, plus actionable analytics for improving performance, cutting costs, and transforming IT environments.

Why it Matters for IT Transformation
Now that we’ve shown that VMs, and not just physical servers, are highly susceptible to falling into a comatose state, it’s extremely critical to identify and eliminate virtual zombies before migrating to the cloud. Right-sizing instances for cloud, based on actual utilization, would generate a 36 percent cost reduction compared to provisioning them in the cloud exactly as they’re provisioned on-premises.

While these numbers don’t take into account the other advantages of cloud migration, they do, however, demonstrate that there is likely significant low-hanging fruit that you could take advantage of to support your application footprint more cost-effectively. If you can identify comatose servers, and right-size for cloud, you stand to realize significant financial gain.

If you’re planning to migrate, look before you leap (or let us look for you!) — it will save you lots of time and money.

To read the full study, click here.



How much more could you save?

Thanks for trying our savings calculator. Enter your info below and we'll send you a detailed report showing the long-term savings you could see using TSO Logic's open platform.