Virtual Iron is taking the concept of load balancing a step further, offering an automated management system that consolidates virtual machines onto as few servers as possible and then shuts down the rest to save energy.
The company's new LivePower system will be bundled into the new Version 4.4 of the Virtual Iron platform, which should start shipping by the end of August. It has received tentative certification on all hardware platforms that currently run the VI hypervisor, although the company says it is still in the experimental phase and is advising customers to roll the system out carefully, preferably in development or test environments.
Even in the absence of software/hardware glitches, however, it probably would be a good idea to keep the system away from mission-critical systems considering many of the high-level, high-reliability servers out there don't take kindly to shutting down and starting up again on a moment's notice.
Still, the concept has merit. VMware is working on something similar with its Distributed Power Management architecture. If over the next year or two the technology can be shown to cut power consumption without major operational disruptions, it adds one more tool in the virtualization kit to both simplify and lower the cost of data center operations.