RealTime IT News

IBM Allots $1B to Push Green

NEW YORK -- With executives sweating the cost of overheated datacenters, IBM  today vowed to invest $1 billion per year to attack the energy consumption dilemma.

Announced at a press event here, Project Big Green will include new products and services geared to help IBM reduce rampant energy consumption in computer gear.

Project Big Green is the company's biggest push to answer the energy consumption problem, which is a considerable drain on energy and financial resources: IDC claims for every dollar spent on IT, 50 cents is spent on energy. Moreover, energy costs rise 50 percent each year.

"The datacenter energy crisis is inhibiting our clients' business growth as they seek to access computing power," said Mike Daniels, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, at the Project Big Green launch. Daniels added that many datacenters have reached full capacity, limiting a firm's ability to grow and make necessary capital investments.

To address this challenge, IBM's Project Big Green will help customers diagnose problems, build a more efficient datacenter, virtualize computer server gear, manage servers with software and cool their datacenters.

If implemented properly, Daniels said customers should expect to save considerable dollars. Daniels claimed that for an average 25,000 square-foot datacenter, customers may realize 42 percent energy savings.

IBM will offer customers a datacenter energy efficiency assessment to rate the energy efficiency of the datacenter; a mobile measurement technology from IBM Research that measures 3-D temperature distributions within datacenters; a thermal analysis service for clamping down on heat-related issues; and virtual worlds to examine 3-D power management of datacenters.

Donna Dillenberger, distinguished engineer with IBM, demonstrated the 3-D virtual world technology, which was modeled after a real IBM datacenter.

In what strongly resembled a Second Life scenario, the engineer showed her avatar walking through a datacenter and checking out mainframes, blade servers and management software for their energy usages.

IBM Project Green
Virtual Dillenberger in a datacenter.
Source: IBM

"You can just go up to one of these mainframes, click on it and see its components and the energy requirements it takes up," Dillenberger said, as she ordered her avatar to do just that in the program. "You can dictate how much power is required to deliver very good response times for end users" without over-provisioning resources and wasting energy.

Bill Zeitler, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group, then announced that IBM will use several new, expanded and existing computer server technologies to hit the energy problem head on.

New offerings include the IBM Data Center Stored Cooling Solution service product, which increases the efficiency of the cooling system. Implemented at an IBM datacenter in Quebec, this product achieved 45 percent savings, Zeitler said.

PowerExecutive software, offered free for the IBM BladeCenter and System x servers to let customers view exactly how much power a system uses, will be available to IBM System i, System p, System z and System Storage customers in November.

IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger, which reduces server heat by up to 60 percent by using chilled water in the server doors, is also now available across most IBM Systems offerings. IBM also plans to introduce a new set of liquid cooling technologies later this year developed by IBM Research Labs.

Zeitler also reminded the attendees that IBM's wealth of server products that use virtualization, which These include IBM's BladeCenter blade system; IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA appliances; the IBM Cell Broadband Engine.

IBM is not alone in its quest for power management and energy efficiency. Computer server rivals Sun Microsystems , through its Blackbox mobile datacenter, and HP  with its Dynamic Smart Cooling system are also addressing the issue.

However, neither Sun nor HP has announced as major an investment in cash or resources as IBM purports to do with Project Big Green.

IBM, which began addressing energy conservation issues in 1974, must now execute on its promises.