Servers are about as efficient as the human brain, and that's not a good thing. "Most servers are utilized at only about 10 percent," says Tom Bittman, a vp for Gartner, who says the global market for X86 servers is about $23 billion yearly - a lot of money for servers that mostly twiddle their thumbs. Even worse, a server's energy and space footprint is agnostic to its utilization. "Even if I'm utilizing 5 percent, I'm still almost using full power," Bittman says.
Bittman says virtualization, which divides single servers into multiple virtual environments enabling hardware resources to be allocated or shared based on user need, can be a fix for the energy use and financial waste problem. "Your power costs go way down," says Bittman, adding a typical virtualization-enabled server consolidation project can reduce power usage by a ratio of about 12 to 1. "The space savings and hardware usage savings are also obvious."