OK, the title is a little bit hyperbolic and owes more than a little bit to recent sci-fi television.  But that’s not to say the true importance is overstated.

As announced today, Citrix, HP, and Intel have banded together to ask government and industry IT users to make a little change to their work habits on that day: when you leave work for the day, turn off your PCs, monitors and printers. And we’re donating our own savings to the American Red Cross of the National Capital area, to put our power savings to use bringing resources to those who might need them in an emergency.

When you go home from work on the 27th, think about what you’ve just done as a start. If powering off PCs and printers at night can yield savings, that got me thinking about other things IT can do to green up. Of course, my ideas started with the Citrix Virtualization spectrum.

For example, instead of powerful PCs on every desktop, lighter-weight machines with XenApp hosted or streamed applications can save lots of power – and reduce management costs as well.

And many users can take the next step – moving them to XenDesktop desktop virtualization will enable you to replace their PCs with low-power thin clients, or at least to remove the power-hungry disk drives from their systems. Moving the workloads to new, efficient servers in data centers with well-managed and predictable power requirements can yield further efficiency.

What about server workloads? Consolidation based on XenServer virtualization can enable dramatically higher utilization, and savings in power, cooling, and real estate – did you know that for every dollar you spend to power a server, you spend as much as 80 cents cooling it?! The workload delivery capabilities of XenServer Platinum can deliver not only a dynamic one, but a greener one – reducing storage requirements by 90% or more, and eliminating even more of those spinning power-hogs.

Looking forward, the future offers even greater savings, by taking advantage of the resources in the cloud to reduce your own company’s investment in IT infrastructure and in the electricity that powers it. This isn’t just a pipe-dream, it’s a reality: Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is powered by Xen, and the 10,000 Xen-powered servers in the cloud mean another 90,000 that don’t need to be purchased, shipped (more fuel!), racked, provisioned, and managed. And let’s not forget about the environmental impact at their end-of-life. Amazon’s multi-megawatt savings can keep the lights on in a small town. Think of that times a hundred, or a thousand, as cloud computing becomes an even greater reality – powered by Xen.

Remember: turn that PC off on the 27th… and see if you can’t get a few ideas to turn on that light bulb over your head about green IT through virtualization.