VMware is talking up the green benefits of its virtualisation technology after recording a strong performance in the first quarter.

According to VMware, for every server virtualised, customers can save about 7,000 kilowatt hours, or four tons of CO2 emissions, every year. (VMware said it got the figures by using the average electricity consumption of servers and multiplying it using industry standard metrics.)

To date, approximately six million desktop computers and servers have been virtualised using VMware software. VMware says this has saved approximately 36.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year - or more than the electricity used for heating and cooling the entire country of Denmark.

"There are two notions facing today's IT manager (when considering green IT)," said Reza Malekzadeh, senior director for products and marketing (EMEA) at VMware. "First is the green notion (i.e. being a good world citizen and saving the environment etc). The second is the reality of the wallet - which is the main driver of the business."

"Software has not previously been considered a main source of pollution," he told Techworld. "But virtualisation does cut power demand, sometimes ten machines down to one. We see customers saving 80 percent of their electricity bill. There are vast savings on power, but also on cooling."

But is the IT manager buying into the green IT argument, and if they are, is it simply to be a good citizen, or more a move to save money? Well according to Malekzadeh, it is a little of both.

"With corporate charters there is pressure to be a good citizen and look after the environment," he said. "But IT managers also look at their electricity bill, and think my god look at the cost. It is the same amount of money today to run a server than to buy a server."

VMware has a green calculator on its website, which is to give IT managers an idea of the environmental impact and potential savings that can be achieved by opting for the server visualisation route.

Depending on how many servers are to be virtualised, the calculator provides an environmental assessment of a virtualisation move, including the equivalent of how many cars would be taken off the motorway, the equivalent trees planted, and even the equivalent annual CO2 emissions.

Meanwhile, VMware revealed earlier this week strong first quarter results after GAAP net income for the quarter rose to $43 million, from $41 million in the year-ago quarter. Sales beat market expectations, after rising 69 percent to $438 million compared to a year ago. Analysts had been expected the company to report revenues of $421.3 million.

"People are buying into virtualisation," said Malekzadeh. "We are seeing no slowdown in demand."

"But customers are now going beyond now the first stage of virtualisation, which was server consolidation," he said. "When we surveyed our customers a few months ago, we discovered customers are increasingly adopting virtualisation for disaster and business continuity. There is lots of uptake there, and there is lot of interest in the management and automation side as well."

"There is also a growing demand for desktop virtualisation as well."

The EMC-controlled company also pleased the markets when it said that it expects revenue to grow 55 percent in the second quarter. Back in January, VMware's stock plunged by more than 30 percent following disappointing results.

It has been a busy quarter for the company after the arrival of Virtual Desktop Manager 2, Lifecycle Manager, and VMsafe, plus competition from the likes of Microsoft and Citrix.

But according to Malekzadeh, VMware is not done yet, and announcements can be expected on management and automation in the next couple of weeks.