This week I had the pleasure to be briefed by Eco4Cloud on what it is they bring to the world of IT. First thing which stood out instantly that this startup is based out of Italy, yes indeed… Europe and not a Silicon Valley based startup… that is a nice change if you ask me! Not just from a geographical perspective are they different then most startups today, but also in terms of what solution they are building. Eco4Cloud is all about datacenter optimization and efficiency. What does this mean?
Most of you probably have heard of vSphere DRS and DPM, if you look at DPM from a conceptual perspective then you could say it is all about lowering cost by consolidating more virtual machines on fewer physical hosts and powering off the unneeded hosts. Eco4Cloud is targeting to do something similar, but doesn’t stop just there. Lets look at what they can do today.
Workload Consolidation is the name of the their core piece of technology (in my opinion). Workload Consolidation analyses your hosts and virtual machines and tries to increase consolidation to allow for hosts to be powered off without impacting the virtual machine SLAs. In other words, if your VM is using 1024MB and 2GHz it should have this available after the consolidation as well. (vMotion is used to move VMs around.) Now it does this in a smart way of course by ensuring that resources are properly balanced both from a CPU and Memory point of view. E4C has done many proof of concepts now and they have shown that they can for instance reduce power consumption between 30-60%, as you can imagine this is huge for larger datacenters. Of course it is not just the decrease of power consumption, but it is also reduction in carbon footprint etc.
Besides consolidation of your workload E4C also has a number of features that can help with optimizing your workloads itself. For instance Smart Ballooning which will preemptively, and in a smart way, claim unused memory from specific virtual machines so that other virtual machines can use the memory when needed. But more importantly, free up claimed resources which are not used anyway to avoid the scenario where you reach a state of (false) overcommitment.
Of course it is best to right size your virtual machines in the first place, but as we all know this is fairly difficult and especially with the ever growing demands of the application owners it is not going to get any easier. E4C can also help with that part, they can provide you the data needed to show VMs are oversized and help providing them the correct resources: Capacity Decision Support Manager. It doesn’t just allow you to analyze the current scenario, but also provides you the option to do “what if” scenarios. These “what if” scenarios are very useful in the case where you expect a growth. CDSM will be able to tell you how many hosts you will need to add, but can also help identifying which type of hosts.
Last but not least there is E4C Troubleshooter, a monitoring solution that will help identifying configuration problems for hosts and virtual machines. It can help you with identifying problems in different areas, but for now the focus seems to be SLA compliance, VM mobility and resource accessibility.
So who is doing this? E4C showed me a case study they have done with Telecom Italia, and out of the 500 hosts Telecom Italia had they were able to place 100 hosts in hibernation mode, leading to a 440MWh decrease (avg 20%). What I like about the solution by the way, as that you can run it in analysis mode without having it apply the recommendations. That way you can see first what the potential savings are.
So how does this thing work? Well it is fairly straight forward, as far as I understand. It is a simple appliance and installing it is no rocket science… Of course you will need to ask yourself how you would benefit from this solution, if you have 2 hosts then it probably will not make sense, but in large(r) environments I can definitely see how costs can be dramatically lowered leveraging their datacenter optimization solution.
** disclaimer: I was briefed by E4C, I have no direct experience with their products. E4C is actively looking for Enterprise customers who are willing to test out their solution in there data center. If you work for an Enterprise and are wondering if you can benefit from this, please leave a comment and I can get you in touch with them directly! **