Why Internet Explorer 9′s Power Consumption Matters

by Bob Plankers on April 7, 2011

in Virtualization

Microsoft blogged about how they worked to reduce the power consumption for Internet Explorer 9:

Power consumption is an important consideration in building a modern browser and one objective of Internet Explorer 9 is to responsibly lead the industry in power requirements. The more efficiently a browser uses power the longer the battery will last in a mobile device, the lower the electricity costs, and the smaller the environment impact. While power might seem like a minor concern, with nearly two billion people now using the Internet the worldwide implications of browser power consumption are significant.

As a virtualization guy I watch power consumption & battery life work closely. Almost universally, their work to extend battery life also means lower utilization for each VM, and better consolidation ratios for me. It’s stuff like their explanation of why Opera consumes more power:

One reason for this is that Opera changes the system timer resolution from the default 15.6ms to 2.5ms which prevents the CPU from entering low power states.

The default timer resolution on Windows 7 is 15.6 milliseconds (ms). Some applications reduce this to 1 ms, which reduces the battery run time on mobile systems by as much as 25 percent.

Not saying there’s a 1 to 1 correlation between battery life and virtualization hardware, but what would 25% less hardware in your VDI environment save you? Or even 5%?

That’s the thing: it isn’t just licensing terms that makes an application virtualization-friendly. There are code implications, too. VMware has long talked about avoiding the use of the multimedia, or high-resolution, timers, and even has KB articles on how to disable & troubleshoot them for applications like Java. In any virtual environment, waking the VM up 15.6 times more than needed eats a lot of CPU and unnecessarily increases the contention between VMs, seen as %RDY under VMware ESXi (ready to execute but can’t).

Maybe a push of IE 9 can be justified, not only in terms of the features it adds, but also in money it will save.

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