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IBM Unveils Plan to Combat Data Center Energy Crisis; Allocates $1 Billion to Advance "Green" Technology and Services

IBM Unveils Plan to Combat Data Center Energy Crisis; Allocates $1 Billion to Advance "Green" Technology and Services

Published 05-10-07

Submitted by IBM

NEW YORK, NY - May 10, 2007 - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is redirecting $1 billion per year across its businesses, mobilizing the company’s resources to dramatically increase the level of energy efficiency in IT. The plan includes new products and services for IBM and its clients to sharply reduce data center energy consumption, transforming the world’s business and public technology infrastructures into "green" data centers.

The savings are substantial -- for an average 25,000 square foot data center, clients should be able to achieve 42 percent energy savings. Based on the energy mix in the US, this savings equates to 7,439 tons of carbon emissions saved per year.

Called "Project Big Green," IBM’s initiative targets corporate data centers where energy constraints and costs can limit their ability to grow. The initiative includes a new global "green team" of more than 850 energy efficiency architects from across IBM.

Today, according to analyst firm IDC, roughly 50 cents is spent on energy for every dollar of computer hardware. This is expected to increase by 54 percent to 71 cents over the next four years. [1]

"The data center energy crisis is inhibiting our clients’ business growth as they seek to access computing power," said Mike Daniels, senior vice president, IBM Global Technology Services. "Many data centers have now reached full capacity, limiting a firm’s ability to grow and make necessary capital investments. Today we are providing clients the IBM action plan to make their data centers fully utilized and energy efficient."

IBM currently runs the world’s largest commercial technology infrastructure, with more than eight million square feet of data centers in six continents. By using the same energy efficiency initiatives it is offering clients today, IBM expects to double the computing capacity of its data centers within the next three years without increasing power consumption or its carbon footprint [2]. Compared to doubling the size of its data centers by building out new space, IBM expects this will help save more than five billion kilowatt hours of energy per year.

IBM Details "Project Big Green"

IBM is using its expertise and energy-smart technology innovations to outline a five-step approach for clients that is designed to dramatically improve energy efficiency:

DIAGNOSE: Evaluate existing facilities -- energy assessment, virtual 3-D power management and thermal analytics

BUILD: Plan, build or update to an energy efficient data center

VIRTUALIZE: Virtualize IT infrastructures and special purpose processors

MANAGE: Seize control with power management software

COOL: Exploit liquid cooling solutions -- inside and out of the data center

"Just as IBM helped organizations grapple with new innovations around the Internet and Linux, we will again assist clients navigate this new era of energy efficient computing," said Bill Zeitler, senior vice president, IBM Systems and Technology Group. "Relief from the energy crisis can’t be achieved through incremental improvements. Bold ideas and actionable plans are needed to deal with this issue."

1. DIAGNOSE: Evaluate existing facilities -- energy assessment, virtual 3-D power management and thermal analytics

Clients struggle to obtain accurate and detailed information on the energy efficiency of their data centers and what major opportunities exist for improvement. Data centers exhibit significant hotspots "“ regions of high power density "“ which result from a flawed layout of server racks, unsound floor designs, and the undesired intermixing of hot and cold air.

  • IBM can conduct an energy efficiency assessment for clients’ data centers that can reduce energy costs by up to 40 percent. This service "“ the IBM Data Center Energy Efficiency Assessment "“ utilizes a new standard metric to rate the energy efficiency of the data center, and presents a plan for clients to increase their efficiency.

  • Mobile Measurement Technology (MMT), a new technology from IBM Research, measures 3-D temperature distributions within data centers. The new mobile measurement machine includes a position monitoring system with a network of up to 100 sensors used to gather thermal data at a granular level, with unprecedented speed and accuracy as it travels through the data center. MMT was implemented at Pacific Gas & Electric’s three data centers in California where it accurately visualized hot spots, air leakage and other inefficiencies across their 40,000 square feet of data center space in a few days, as opposed to a few weeks if surveyed by hand.

  • IBM Thermal Analysis for High Density Computing service product identifies and resolves existing and potential heat-related issues that are likely to create outages in existing data centers, and provides options for power savings and future expansion.

  • IBM will use virtual worlds to explore virtual 3-D power management of data centers, resulting in more efficient energy use.

    2. BUILD: Plan, build or update an energy efficient data center

    Based on IBM’s experience of building 30 million square feet of data center space for clients worldwide, the Data Center Energy Efficiency Assessment service complements additional new energy efficient service products announced today, including:

  • The Energy Efficiency Self Assessment provides clients a free online view of their data center energy efficiency;

  • The IBM Scalable Modular Data Center, a pre-configured 500 or 1,000 square foot data center solution with energy efficient technologies that can be implemented in 8-12 weeks and is 15 percent less expensive than traditional data center builds;

  • The IBM Optimized Airflow Assessment for Cabling, which helps clientsimprove air flow under the data center raised floor and reduce cabling costs, and;

  • Specialized Facilities capabilities to design and build green buildings which help clientsintegrate all building subsystems to operate in a safe, efficient and ecologically friendly environment leading to significant energy savings.

    Additional IBM partner-enabled service offerings are available from leading global power and cooling technology, providers including Anixter, Inc., APC-MGE, Eaton, Emerson Network Power / Liebert, GE Consumer & Industrial, and Schneider Electric.

    3. VIRTUALIZE: Virtualize IT infrastructure and exploit special purpose processors

    Clients need to move to virtualized infrastructure and take advantage of emerging hybrid systems that utilize special purpose processors to improve performance and reduce energy consumption.

  • IBM leads in providing the industry’s most comprehensive virtualization technologies "“ including mainframe, UNIX, x86, and storage systems -- which allow clients to consolidate work onto fewer computers, increasing utilization, which can significantly reduce energy and maintenance bills and simplify their infrastructure. Today, many computer systems use 5 percent to 12 percent of their capacity. IBM’s mainframe, which includes the world’s most sophisticated virtualization technologies, already allows clients to reach nearly 100 percent server utilization.

  • IBM’s BladeCenter, a thin, plug-in blade server for consolidating IT infrastructures, can not only provide physical integration of an infrastructure, but the design of its switching technology can help result in reduced power consumption. According to IBM internal studies, an average BladeCenter with embedded Ethernet and Fibre Channel switches can help save clients up to 50 percent power, per port over a typical rack optimized server.

  • WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances have been shown to perform XML and Web services security processing as much as 72 times better than server-based systems alone. This translates into clients who are deploying XML applications and seeking to secure their Web services so they can increase their performance and reduce application latency while at the same time reducing their need for additional hardware resources to accomplish the same job with reduced system footprint and power consumption.

  • For analytics and digital media, the Cell Broadband Engine can deliver extreme performance compared with conventional processors. IBM client Mayo Clinic is using Cell as part of its BladeCenter and can now speed the processing of 3-D medical images for use by radiologists by up to 50 times faster than on a traditional processor configuration.

    4. MANAGE: Seize control with power management software

    Provisioning software can reduce 80 percent of power consumption on servers automatically by putting them on standby mode when they are not needed. If this software was deployed in all the estimated U.S. data centers, the country could save 5.4 billion kilowatt hours per year, enough electricity to heat 370,000 homes for a winter.

  • Tivoli management software will expand the IBM Cool Blue portfolio of energy efficient technology with software that monitors power consumption, allows users to set power policies and tracks energy usage and accurately charges back departments’ power consumption in a data center. As a result, every department can be held accountable and learn to create efficiencies by both monitoring for current energy use to find opportunities for savings, and by allowing users to save energy through minimizing consumption via server provisioning and de-provisioning. In the State of California, IBM will send clients free information on provisioning technology that can reduce energy consumption to help businesses deal with the state’s acute energy crisis.

  • PowerExecutive software, part of the IBM Systems Director portfolio, will now be available across all IBM systems and storage. Originally designed from IBM BladeCenter and System x, in November 2007 IBM will roll the free energy management technology out across IBM System i, System p, System z and System Storage. It is the only energy management software tool that can provide clients with a view of the actual power used, as opposed to benchmarked power consumption, and can effectively allocate, match and cap power and thermal limits in the data center at the system, chassis or rack level. By enabling power capping, clients can effectively run their systems on cruise control.

    5. COOL: Exploit liquid cooling solutions -- inside and out of the data center

    Analyst firm IDC estimates that in 2006 $29 billion was spent on powering and cooling IT systems [3].

  • IBM is announcing a patented "stored cooling" solution that dramatically increases the efficiency of the largest single use of power in the data center "“ the end-to-end cooling system. The IBM Data Center Stored Cooling Solution service product, implemented at an IBM data center in Quebec, achieved 45 percent savings and has already been named the "best new energy product" by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

  • IBM’s patented Rear Door Heat eXchanger "cooling doors" are now available across most IBM Systems offerings. While requiring no additional fans or electricity, they reduce server heat output in data centers up to 60 percent by utilizing chilled water to dissipate heat generated by computer systems. IBM also plans to introduce a new set of liquid cooling technologies later this year developed by IBM Research Labs.

    IBM will soon launch an open, Web-enabled clearinghouse for energy efficiency incentives. The Energy Efficiency Incentive Finder will be one central website for details about energy efficiency incentives and programs that are available from local utility companies, governments, and other participating agencies anywhere in the world.

    IBM Global Financing (IGF), the financing business segment of IBM, is uniquely positioned as part of Project Big Green to provide a "green wrapper" of financing solutions to help data center owners access or acquire the hardware, software and services they need to build an energy-efficient data center. IGF’s simple financing solutions to qualified customers will help alleviate some of the capital constraints and allow enterprises, the opportunity to align their upfront costs to anticipated project benefits. Easy lease and loan terms will also help facilitate the planning and tracking of project costs.

    IBM is a long-standing leader in environmental protection, having taken early action to establish its environmental affairs policy in 1971. For more information about IBM’s Energy Efficiency Initiative, news announced today, access to video and audio interviews with IBM and industry leaders, please visit:

    Broadcast-quality video for journalists is available at:

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