Now here’s an interesting story that I completely missed. Pacific Gas & Electric Company last month began paying corporate customers to reduce the number of servers they run. The giant California utility, reports Larry Dignan, is giving companies cash rebates for using virtualization software to consolidate their applications onto fewer servers. The rebates typically amount to between $150 and $300 for each server removed and can add up to as much as $4 million per site. Speaking at a conference today, Diane Greene, president of VMware, the leading virtualization vendor, said that “several other power companies” are considering launching similar programs.
I take this as a further indication that we’ll soon see a growing public awareness of the vast energy demands of modern computing operations. 2007 may be the year that environmental activists begin targeting corporate data centers. That would give another big push to virtualization, not to mention utility computing.