Current trends in increasing storage capacity and virtualization of resources combined with the need for energy efficiency put a challenging task in front of system designers. Previous studies have suggested many approaches to reduce hard disk energy dissipation in native OS environments; however, those mechanisms do not perform well in virtual machine environments because a virtual machine (VM) and the virtual machine monitor (VMM) that runs it have different semantic contexts. This paper explores the disk I/O activities between VMM and VMs using trace driven simulation to understand the I/O behavior of the VM system. Subsequently, this paper proposes three mechanisms to address the isolation between VMM and VMs, and increase the burstiness of hard disk accesses to increase energy efficiency of a hard disk. Compared to standard shutdown mechanisms, with eight VMs the proposed mechanisms reduce disk spin-ups, increase the disk sleep time, and reduce energy consumption by 14.8% with only 0.5% increase in execution time. We implemented the proposed mechanisms in Xen and validated our simulation results.