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Atlantic Ventures researchers suggest that the move to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) can reduce datacenter energy consumption by up to 40 percent.

Atlantic Ventures conducted an analysis on behalf of HCI provider Nutanix. Datacenters consume massive amounts of energy. Sustainability goals and energy prices pressure organizations.

“Digital infrastructures as a whole account for a substantial share of worldwide energy consumption”, said Sammy Zoghlami, SVP Nutanix EMEA. “Action here can have a huge impact on climate change.”

3-tier and HCI

By its own admission, Nutanix sponsored the analysis to compare the footprint of datacenter architectures. The researchers focused on the differences between HCI and 3-tier architectures.

3-tier architectures are among the most common architectures today. The architectures consist of three separate components: servers, storage and network switches. Hardware systems have specialized tasks.

HCI combines servers and storage into one. The architecture uses software to leverage hardware systems as both servers and storage. As a result, hardware systems can be used for multiple tasks.

The researchers analyzed an anonymous organization with a 3-tier datacenter to determine if and how much energy a switch to HCI would save. The conclusion is promising. According to the researchers, HCI could reduce the organization’s datacenter energy consumption by up to 27 percent.

The potential savings are based on the analysis of a single, anonymous organization. The organization’s private datacenter featured 400 standard x86 servers, 3PB of NAS/SAN storage and a 3-tier architecture. According to the researchers, companies with other environments can benefit from HCI just as well.

The report does not include concrete proof to substantiate the claim, but it’s plausible nonetheless. HCI uses hardware more efficiently than 3-tier, allowing organizations to get by on fewer server and storage systems. That’s a significant benefit in terms of energy efficiency, as servers and storage are responsible for most datacenter energy consumption.


In addition, the researchers emphasized the value of HCI’s software usage and automation. To give an example, Nutanix uses software-defined firewalls, a more efficient alternative to traditional firewalls. In addition, Nutanix develops automation tools to scale storage up and down, allowing systems to consume energy only when needed.

The researchers argue that HCI can play a leading role in reducing datacenter energy consumption and costs. According to the researchers, this applies to both private and colocation datacenters.

Although colocation datacenters increasingly use HCI, 3-tier architectures remain common. According to the researchers, colocation datacenters can benefit even more from HCI than private datacenters due to their high server density. The researchers estimate the potential savings of a switch at 30 to 40 percent.

Tip: “Nutanix will make the cloud invisible”