This all leads to a bigger question: Will system administrators ever be prepared to allow their servers to take an occasional deep snooze when they're not doing anything useful? A company called Cassatt attempted to entice datacenter operators to power machines off and on as needed using its Active Response package -- but it didn't gain traction.
Meanwhile, other organizations are dabbling in powering down servers. Cisco, for example, reports that it has developed tools in-house for powering non-mission-critical servers off and on, such as those for testing and development, as well as applications such as payroll, which are run on a regular schedule but not needed daily.
But the day may come when powering on and off production servers is no longer taboo, thanks to cloud computing and virtualization, according to Douglas Alger, IT architect for physical infrastructure at Cisco and author of "Grow a Greener Data Center: A guide to building and operating energy-efficient, ecologically sensitive IT and Facilities infrastructure."
Alger says, "We'll reach the point where the datacenter consists of large virtualized resource pools, and any single box isn't particularly important because it's just one of 100, or 200, or 500 [running a given service]. It seems we'll be able to power machines down when they're idle without fear that they won't come back up. Even if most come back up, you'll still be able to work with that pool."
A dynamic virtualized datacenter? Sounds promising.