IBM unveiled a US$1 billion-a-year service initiative aimed at building and redesigning datacentres that consume less energy.
At a press conference in New York last week, the company debuted Project Big Green, which will call on 850 Global Technology Services employees to redesign IBM's own datacentres and those of its customers.
"Large companies are facing a large crisis around energy," says Mike Daniels, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services. "This issue is surfacing in a number of different ways, whether it's the capital required to build new data centres because people are out of capacity, or where people are out of power or trying to manage that power. We think this is an issue where we can provide leadership for the industry and for our clients."
The Project Big Green service, which IBM will offer at a cost, has five components: diagnosis, building, virtualisation, provisioning and cooling. It will start with a diagnosis of a customer's existing facilities and include an energy assessment, a three-dimensional power analysis and thermal analytics. A diagnostic component called the IBM Data Centre Energy Efficiency Assessment rates the energy efficiency of the data centre and presents a plan to increase it.
Another diagnostic service called Mobile Measurement Technology measures temperature distributions in data centres and gathers thermal data on hot spots, air leakage and other inefficiencies. Further, IBM will provide a Thermal Analysis for High Density Computing service that identifies and resolves heat-related issues and provides options for power savings.
Diagnosis will then turn to a building phase, which helps customers plan, build or update energy-efficient data centres. IBM will provide an Energy Efficiency Self Assessment that gives customers a view of their data centre's energy efficiency. The company also will offer preconfigured, 500-square-foot or 1,000-square-foot Scalable Modular Data Centres, which can be implemented in eight to 12 weeks. IBM also will provide cabling recommendations for improving air flow beneath data-center floors and reducing cabling expenditures.
The next step in the initiative is the virtualisation of customers' server and storage infrastructure and the deployment of energy-saving special-purpose processors, such as the Cell processor. Using the company's Bladecentre servers with embedded Ethernet and fibre channel switches, for example, can save customers 50 percent of the power per port compared with a typical rack-mounted server.
Customers then will be encouraged to use power and provisioning software to reduce server and storage energy consumption and to cool the data centre inside and out with liquid-cooling technologies. The company unveiled the IBM Data Centre Stored Cooling Solution and recommended the use of its Rear Door Heat Exchanger for its servers. The company also plans to introduce a new set of liquid-cooling technologies later this year.