The Raritan Blog

Zombies Are All the Rage Everywhere but in Data Centers

Michael Bord
November 17, 2015

America has a serious love affair with Zombies.  Some say it borders on obsession.  The undead litter our cultural landscape via TV, film, books, video games, and every other form of mass communication you can think of.  And if you’re looking for refuge, you wont find any in the data center.

Why are zombies so prevalent in data centers?  As you probably know, a zombie is a server that is powered on but doing little or no work whatsoever.  It’s a bit like leaving the lights on at home - all the time - day or night.  Something no sane person would do.  But while you sit around reading this, it’s happening on a nearly unfathomable scale.

Last September, Robert McMillan of the Wall Street Journal wrote that, “By one estimate, 10 million zombie servers world-wide use up power roughly equal to eight large power plants.”  The root of the problem is best summed up in this single quote:

“Most companies are far better at getting servers up and running than they are at figuring out when to pull the plug.”

You may believe that companies have a moral obligation to combat the issue. Or that it simply makes good financial sense.  Either way it’s clear that change is needed at the operational level.  Read more about how companies are dealing with zombie servers here.