RealTime IT News

Big 'Green Machine' Goes to Work

Green tech

IBM has announced the first big hosting agreement for its new energy efficient datacenter in Colorado, a massive facility meant to be a model for energy efficiency. Also, the company has installed another supercomputer worthy of the Top 500 supercomputer list, this one for weather prediction.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) opened its 115,000-square-foot Boulder, Colorado, datacenter in June. It's the largest datacenter ever built by the company and is also the model for efficient computing, dubbed "The Green Machine."

For starters, it will utilize Boulder's climate, so when exterior temperature and humidity levels are favorable, the new datacenter has technologies that switch to free-cooling mode using a water economizer to reduce energy consumption. So rather than refrigerate the water, it will let cold air outside do the work.

The facility will be partially powered by alternative-energy sources, including more than one million kilowatt hours per year of wind-powered electricity purchased by IBM from Xcel Energy. IBM claims this will result in a reduction of approximately two million pounds of carbon dioxide produced per year.

The center also has variable-speed pumps and motors in the air conditioning systems to balance the cooling capacities to the actual load, and it has low-sulfur diesel generators to provide emergency backup power.

The result is a datacenter that is 40 percent more efficient than one without heat exchangers for free-cooling and there is room for further improvement, according to IBM. "There are all kinds of opportunities for datacenter efficiency," Joe Dzaluk, vice president of infrastructure and resource management at IBM, told InternetNews.com. "An EPA report found two-thirds of energy brought in to datacenter is wasted or misused. Strictly speaking, that's all waste."

IBM won't be keeping the Boulder facility to itself. It's the size of two football fields, after all. Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) on Wednesday announced it has signed a five-year hosting agreement to have IBM support Juniper's global operations. IBM will provide Juniper with a hosting environment for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) application deployments worldwide.

"We turned to IBM for an innovative and environmentally-friendly solution to scaling our IT infrastructure and business-critical application deployments in-line with the escalating demands of our business," said Michele Goins, chief information officer at Juniper Networks, in a statement.