IBM goes green with utility partnership

IBM goes green with utility partnership

IBM is teaming up with the utility industry on new data centre energy management programs, and hyping a modular data centre product designed to reduce energy consumption.

IBM committed to spending US$1 billion annually to improve IT energy efficiency with its Project Big Green announced just over a year ago. As part of that initiative, IBM last week announced a new Enterprise Modular Data centre, essentially a data centre in a box coming in sizes from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet.

Similar to rival Sun Microsystems' Modular Datacentre, which has been generally available since January, IBM says its product helps reduce unnecessary capital and operational expenses.

"With roughly 60 percent of the capital costs and 50 percent of the operational costs of running a data centre being energy related, the ability to design, construct and activate a highly energy efficient data centre has become a business imperative," IBM states.

The data centre "pod" includes power and cooling systems, remote monitoring, and protection from fire, smoke, humidity, condensation and temperature changes.

With industry-standard racks, customers can fill the Modular Data centre with technology from multiple vendors. (Compare server products.)

"By building in smaller, standardized modules, clients can scale the starting data centre capacity by up to 12 times while matching their capital and operational costs to their IT needs over time," IBM says. "This approach allows the customers to defer up to 40 percent of the capital expense and 50 percent of the operational expense until the capacity is required."

IBM didn't say how much the Modular Data centre costs.

IBM followed up the Modular Data centre announcement this week with a utility industry partnership focused on reducing energy consumption in data centres. IBM made the announcement in Toronto at the Edison Electric Institute's conference for utility companies.

IBM also detailed two new services. The first is IBM's IT Carbon Strategy Assessment, a three- or four-week program that helps customers identify energy waste in their network, printers, distributed servers, HVAC systems, desktop computers and other technologies. The second service, based in Second Life,  is called the Virtual Green Data centre, a three-dimensional tool giving users insight into managing and improving data centre efficiency.

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