Viridity calculates energy cost of applications

A new release of Viridity's data center management software can be linked to individual applications

Viridity has updated its data center infrastructure management software to let businesses keep track of how much electrical power is being consumed by individual applications and lines of business, the company will announce Monday.

DCIM tools are becoming more widely used as companies try to manage energy use more closely to reduce bills in their data centers. Gartner estimated last year that 60 percent of data centers will be using some form of DCIM software by 2014, up from just 1 percent last year.

That also means DCIM is becoming a crowded market. The 451 Group has counted more than 40 DCIM vendors and expects consolidation to occur. Many of the vendors provide tools that measure the power drawn by equipment and analyze the data to help with capacity planning and where to put new hardware.

Viridity's EnergyCenter product is based on a database the company has compiled containing information about "tens of thousands" of server configurations, including how much electrical power each configuration uses at small incremental levels of utilization.

The software then monitors the utilization level of data center equipment so customers can see which systems are using too much power or are inefficient. It can also identify idle or under-utilized servers that might be candidates for consolidation.

A new release due out on July 1, EnergyCenter Version 2.0, lets companies associate the energy use with particular applications and services. A company can identify a group of servers associated with payroll, for example, to calculate the operational cost of that department.

"A few of our large customers say they don't track the operating costs associated with some of their large applications," said Viridity President and CEO Arun Oberoi. "They know roughly some elements of the cost -- application development, maintenance of servers, etc -- but power and cooling costs are a big component."

The information helps determine whether the operational cost of applications are in line with their importance to the company. It can also be the basis of charge-back applications that bill departments for the energy they use.

Version 2.0 can also track power used by virtual servers by connecting to VMware's vSphere management software, Oberoi said. Viridity expects to support Microsoft's virtualization platform in another update later this year.

The new release also adds some heat-mapping capabilities, to identify hotspots and cooling needs, and can send alerts when thresholds are reached.

EnergyCenter doesn't measure energy and heat using sensors and monitoring equipment, as some other products do. But it says its calculations based on utilization rates are 98 percent accurate, and that its product is easier to set up because it's all software.

"We think a software approach is more sustainable because it's more lightweight," Oberoi said.

EnergyCenter 2.0 is sold on a subscription basis for $500 per server rack per year, or as a perpetual license for about $1,500 per rack, Oberoi said.

The company has "north of 20" customers and expects to add eight more in the coming months, Oberoi said. Its customers are mostly large enterprises in North America, but Viridity is working with a distributor in the U.K. and plans to enter Germany and Japan as well.

Interest in DCIM tools is being driven in Europe by cap and trade laws that require companies to report their energy usage, and in the U.S. by growing awareness of the high cost of data center power and cooling, Oberoi said. In Japan, data centers have been told to cut their energy use 20 percent because of the ongoing nuclear power crisis there, he said.

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