Wednesday, 11 June 2008

IBM Big Green Announcements

IBM has today brought together a number of new and previous announcements to expand on the company's Project Big Green initiative - the full press release is here. There are new offerings around IBM's five building blocks of Project Big Green, which are; energy measurement and management; cooling systems; virtualisation; data centre building; and diagnosing, i.e. improving energy use.

One of the main areas of enhancement that was announced is around the data centre itself. IBM has introduced a set of four off-the-shelf data centre offerings which promise to provide significant energy savings at reduced cost. The modular offerings mean that they can be populated as and when required and the range includes a data centre-in-a-box (albeit a big box) and also an option to put a 'high density zone' in an existing data centre.

Other announcements included enhanced Tivoli monitoring for Green energy, which provides additional capabilities in visualising energy use as well as automatic control of server energy and operator alerts.

All good stuff (and enough of the advert) but what I found most intriguing in the presentation I saw around the announcement was the four key messages:

'Energy efficiency is a global issue with significant impact today — and will have an even greater impact in the future'. I think we can all agree on that.

'Data centre design must change – technology and business growth uncertainty and rising costs drive the need for a new approach'. Again, you can't really argue with this, although there does seem to be a view out there that it is a one-off process to solve the problem. In my view improving the energy-efficiency of data centres is like painting the Forth Bridge (as we say in the UK), i.e. as soon as it's done you have to start again. Energy demands will have increased and technology will have moved on.

'Energy efficiency is a key metric to evaluate overall IT operational efficiency'. This I find interesting. I'm not sure whether IBM means it is now or that it should be. It will certainly come in the future but I doubt whether there are many IT departments out there at the moment that would agree. This is where education is needed (and time).

'Immediate financial return can be realized by optimizing around energy efficiency in current data centres, while planning for the future'. Absolutely agree. I have heard tell of paybacks within six months. But as I said above, this is a never-ending process and the pay-back will diminish with each iteration, although carbon taxes may well impact the equation.

© The Green IT Review

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