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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday: The Data Center is Always Greener on the Other Side of the ADC

Organizations interested in greening their data centers (both green as in cash as well as in grass) will benefit from the ability to reduce, reuse and recycle in just 4Us of rack space with a leaner, greener F5 VIPRION f5friday

According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity for commercial use rose from 9.63 (Jan 2010) to 9.88 (Jan 2011) cents per kWh. 

If you think that’s not significant, consider that the average cost of powering one device in the data center has increased by 3% from 2010 to 2011 – an average of about $5 per 250w device.  On a per device basis, that’s not so bad, but start multiplying that by the number of devices in an enterprise-class data center and it begins to get fairly significant fairly quickly – especially given that we haven’t started calculating the costs to cool the devices yet, either.

Watts per device Devices kWh Annual cost 2010 Annual cost 2011
250 1 2190 $210.90 USD $216.37 USD
250 100 219000 $21,089.70 USD $21,637.20 USD
250 1000 2190000 $210,897.00 USD $216,372.00 USD

It’s no surprise, then, that organizations are moving forward with efforts to “go green” not only because it’s good for the environment, but because it’s good for their budgets, too.


Greening the Data Center: While only 3.9 percent of respondents have implemented solar power in their data center, AFCOM feels this represents a trend towards integrating renewable energy as part of making more sustainable and energy efficient data centers. While the industry is certainly concerned with the environment, they look to greening as a great way to save substantial money now and even more as time goes on.

-- Cloud Use Rises, Mainframe Usage Declines as Data Centers Grow and Green, According to AFCOM Survey


One of the benefits of our recently announced mid-sized hardware platform, the VIPRION 2400, is that it’s greener. Combining its 80 Plus certified, high efficiency power supplies with its ability to support consolidation efforts in the application and network infrastructure and you’ve got a lean, green delivery machine.


Green power supplies are 80 Plus certified high efficiency power supplies. VIPRION power supplies operate at 80% or greater efficiency at 20% 50% and 100% load.

Consolidate application delivery point solutions. Reducing the number of disparate application delivery point solutions has a dramatic impact on the overall costs to power and cool the data center. VIPRION with its flexible vCMP technology enables organizations to consolidate a variety of application delivery services onto a single, efficient platform, eliminating the additional power and cooling costs – as well as licensing, administration, and associated networking costs.

Consolidating eight separate devices down to a single VIPRION 2500 Chassis with two blades can have a significant impact on your bottom line:

  Watts per device Devices/Blades kWh Annual Cost
Multiple point solutions 175* 8 12264 $1,211.68 USD
VIPRION 2400 w/2 blades 175 2 3066 $   302.92 USD

* assuming a similar Watt per device consumption, actual rates will vary based on solution

REUSE  427-F69-F97

vCMP enables flexible, dynamic provisioning of resources in a variety of ways to best enable IT to meet business and operational requirements. CPU and memory can be allocated in ways that best fit your organization’s business and operational requirements, and additional capacity can be seamlessly added without disruption. Use resources to handle unanticipated load today and reuse them tomorrow to reduce bandwidth consumption during scheduled backup transfers to off-site locations.

The shared, internal high-speed interconnects that power BIG-IP further allow the reuse of messages as traffic is processed, reducing the time and memory needed on the VIPRION to process traffic and apply the appropriate acceleration, optimization and security policies necessary to meet business and operational goals. For example, BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) has no need to parse the HTTP stream because the underlying application delivery platform, Local Traffic Manager (LTM) has already done that task. This eliminates the latency inherent in performing these tasks on traffic on each of multiple, inline devices. 


Optimizations like TCP Multiplexing and offloading capabilities afford organizations the means by which application server infrastructure can be consolidated, reducing physical and virtual instances that can have a dramatic impact on capital and operational expenses. Based on testing, an application delivery controller can offload 33-66% of the processing load on server infrastructure, allowing decommission of hardware and reducing overall licensing and management costs.

  Watts per server Servers kWh Annual Cost
Servers without ADC offload 250 99 216810 $21,420.83 USD
Servers with ADC offload 250 33 72270 $ 7,140.28 USD


There are a lot of green solutions out there for the data center, but very few that are green themselves while simultaneously enabling a greener data center by positively impacting the overall composition of the data center – without negatively impacting performance, availability or security. VIPRION 2400 offers myriad options for consolidating infrastructure – both network and server – and does so while being highly efficient both operationally and environmentally.


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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.