In spite of all attempts for IT to be as “green” as possible, there is one undeniable truth: IT equipment uses power. A lot of power. Company servers and workstations are just the beginning, too.
Consider the power consumed by air conditioning to cool these servers and PC’s, not to mention the heat generated by the gigabit switches and routers that connect it all together and the firewalls and content filters that protect your business.
Fortunately, there is a cleaner, greener alternative to all of this:
Software as a Service provided by 6YS.
The best part is that our state-of-the-art provisioning engine ensures that all of our clients’ data and information is kept completely separate from that of others that share use of the equipment.
The environmental savings all begin with multi-tenancy. At 6YS, we operate an enterprise-class IT environment that is shared by all of our clients. This includes the sharing of mail servers, file servers, Terminal Servers, storage and more. From a functional perspective, you can’t even tell its happening, but we are able to save hundreds of kilowatt hours through the sharing of hardware resources.
Meanwhile, many (if not all) of our clients’ PCs can be replaced with Thin Client devices. These are embedded devices with no moving parts that use minimal power and only allow the user to connect to our Terminal Servers – nothing more. Our clients have no further need of their own servers, firewalls, high-end switches or routers. All that is required is basic switches and a private network link back to the 6YS datacentre to allow users to access their applications. We handle the rest.
A perfect example of multi-tenancy at work is our Exchange cluster. Traditionally, a small business would have their own Exchange server in-house. This server may only support a handful of users, but it still sits in the corner consuming power and generating heat. Our Exchange Cluster consists of several such servers, but supports over 1000 users – all utilizing a fraction of the power and generating a fraction of the heat that would be produced if each of our clients operated their own Exchange server.
There is a lot of hype going around about the virtues of virtualization. This is a technology that allows multiple “virtual servers” to run on a single physical server, allowing greater utilization of hardware. Hype aside, it really does work! This technology allows us to run a number of Virtual Machines on only a few physical servers. Better yet, after-hours when most of our users have logged off and system workload drops drastically, our systems relocate the virtual machines onto only one or two physical servers and shutdown the rest to conserve power.
When the additional CPU and Memory capacity is required in the morning as users start to log in for the day, these servers fire up again and the Virtual Machines are redistributed to ensure a fair utilization of the available hardware. Best of all, this happens without any downtime – the process is completely transparent to our users.
We expect that in the future – over 50% of our infrastructure is going to be virtual instead of physical, meaning that the power and heat savings we currently realize will only grow in time.
We Practice What We Preach
Unlike many other hosting companies, we like to practice what we preach by using our own services internally. Our staff run off the same Exchange, File and Terminal Servers as all of our clients.
This means that 6YS is also able to benefit from a greener operating environment – just like what we offer all of our clients.