Countless PCs in organizations effectively killed the need for virtualization as a multi-tasking enabled solution in the 1980s. At that time, virtualization was widely abandoned and not picked up until the late 1990s again, when the technology would find a new use and purpose. The opportunity of a booming PC and datacenter industry brought an unprecedented increase in the need for computer space, as well as in the cost of power to support these installations. Back in 2002, data centers already accounted for 1.5 percent of the total U.S. power consumption and was growing by an estimated 10 percent every year. More than 5 million new servers were deployed every year and added a power supply of thousands of new homes every year. As experts warned of excessive power usage, hardware makers began focusing on more power efficient components to enable growth for the future and alleviate the need for data center cooling. Data center owners began developing smart design approaches to make the cooling and airflow in data centers more efficient.
At this time, most computing was supported by the highly inefficient x86-based IT model, originally created by Intel in 1978. Cheap hardware created the habit of over-provisioning and under-utilizing. Any time a new application was needed, it often required multiple systems for development and production use. Take this concept and multiply it out by a few servers in a multi-tier application, and it wasn't uncommon to see 8-10 new servers ordered for every application that was required. Most of these servers went highly underutilized since their existence was based on a non-regular testing schedule. It also often took a relatively intensive application to even put a dent in the total utilization capacity of a production server.
In 1998, VMware solves the problem of virtualizing the old x86 architecture opening a path to a solution to get control over the wasteful nature of IT data centers. This server consolidation effort is what helped establish virtualization as a go-to technology for organizations of all sizes. IT started to notice capital expenditure savings by buying fewer, but higher powered servers to handle the workloads of 15-20 physical servers. Operational expenditure savings was accomplished through reduced power consumption required for powering and cooling servers. It was the realization that virtualization provided a platform for simplified availability and recoverability. Virtualization offered a more responsive and sustainable IT infrastructure that afforded new opportunities to either keep critical workloads running, or recover them more quickly than ever in the event of a more catastrophic failure.
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