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IBM BladeCenter Systems Up to 30 Percent More Energy Efficient Than Comparable HP Blades

IBM Unveils Next Generation of PowerExecutive Energy Management Technology to Extend Leadership in Energy Efficient Computing

ARMONK, NY - 16 Nov 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that its BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less energy than HP BladeSystem. As energy prices rise to nearly 15 cents per kilowatt hour in New York City, 21 cents per kilowatt hour in Tokyo and up to 23 cents per kilowatt hour in London, businesses can save hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars in energy costs each year depending on the size of their datacenter.

Based on internal IBM testing, IBM's AMD Opteron-based BladeCenter (LS21) within the BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less energy than the comparable HP AMD Opteron-based BladeSystem (BL465c) in the HP c-Class system when both systems are idle, and up to 18 percent less energy when both systems are running at full load.[1]

IBM's Intel Xeon-based BladeCenter (HS21) within the BladeCenter system uses up to 26 percent less energy than the comparable HP Intel Xeon-based BladeSystem (BL460c) in the HP c-Class system when both systems are idle, and up to 13 percent less energy when both systems are running at full load.[2] Comparisons are based on systems using the same dual-core Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron microprocessors.

According to a 2006 report by the Robert Frances Group, across industry, the average utilization of most processors in the data center is between 15-20 percent.[3] Therefore, managing a server at its least productive state becomes critical to managing the issue of energy consumption in the datacenter.

Key IBM innovations that set the BladeCenter architecture apart include: a shared power infrastructure with up to 90 percent energy efficient power supplies able to reach peak efficiency even under small load; and IBM Calibrated Vector Cooling technology to allow dual paths of air to each component to improve uptime and longevity while also reducing wasteful air movement.

IBM's energy-smart BladeCenter design, pioneered by IBM Research, features energy efficient power supplies (which are up to 90 percent efficient) saving as much as 28 percent in electrical usage over many commonly available power supplies (which are often only 60 to 70 percent efficient). IBM's shared cooling approach that utilizes high-efficiency blowers, can consume up to 60 percent less power than the newest design in the HP c-Class, based on internal IBM testing. These smarter power and cooling architectures, combined with smart use of energy efficient components, such as low voltage processors, allow IBM users to extract the most performance from every kilowatt.

"This is a big competitive advantage in a product segment where energy efficiency is perhaps the chief consideration," said Doug Balog, vice president and business line executive, IBM BladeCenter. "In an environment where the cost of operating a system is approaching the cost of acquiring the hardware, HP has delivered a new system that is much less efficient in its use of power."

Unlike the blade servers available for HP's c-Class chassis, which are not backward compatible with HP's older blade chassis, IBM's high-density modular blade server is designed to support the entire family of BladeCenter chassis. HP is on its third system redesign in five years[4], while IBM BladeCenter is still based on its original design and demonstrates better efficiency.

The Price of Power

IBM also introduced today the second generation of PowerExecutive, an industry-first energy management technology, now enabling clients to cap the amount of power used by a single server or groups of servers to optimize energy use and application performance. PowerExecutive, an extension to IBM Director systems management software, allows clients to "meter" actual power usage and trend data for any single physical system or group of systems.

Today, the label rating on the back of a server is the only guide that IT managers have when planning for power and cooling capacity for their datacenter. IT managers are often forced to resort to an 80 percent rule to safely estimate power consumption based on the label rating, which means they may over budget energy requirements.

IBM PowerExecutive allows these IT managers to see the difference between their power budget and actual power usage, enabling them to optimize power consumption and stretch their budgets over time. Putting a cap on the systems power use, based on the workload and business trends over time, allows IT managers to safely limit the amount of energy draw from the server, without sacrificing performance or productivity, or adding servers to the existing infrastructure.

"Better systems and information leads to better decisions aimed at maximizing business performance. Whether delivering superior design innovation or tools to more accurately plan, monitor, and control power consumption to meet business expectations, IBM helps clients dramatically improve power utilization and reduce energy costs for a significant competitive advantage," said Balog.

About IBM BladeCenter

IBM has shipped over half a million BladeCenter systems since the product's inception in 2002. According to data from industry analyst firm Gartner, IBM retained its lead as the number one blade server vendor in the world garnering 42.8 percent revenue share in the second quarter 2006, 13 percent better than its closest competitor. (Gartner, Servers Quarterly Statistics United States: Database, 22 August 2006.)

About IBM CoolBlue

IBM has developed some of the industry's leading power and cooling technologies based on the skills and experience of over 40 years of mainframe technology development. The CoolBlue portfolio of IBM innovations includes comprehensive hardware and systems-management tools for computing environments, enabling clients to better optimize the power consumption, management and cooling of infrastructure at the system, rack and datacenter levels. The CoolBlue portfolio includes IBM PowerConfigurator, PowerExecutive, and Rear Door Heat eXchanger.

For more information about IBM, go to: www.ibm.com

For more information about IBM BladeCenter, go to: www.ibm.com/bladecenter

For IBM BladeCenter press announcements, go to: www.ibm.com/press

[1] -- Results of up to 29.9 percent when idle, up to 18.7 percent with full load.

Side-by-side tests performed using the following blade server configurations:

LS21: 2 x 2.4GHz AMD Opteron 2216HE CPUs, 8 x 2GB DIMMs, 1 x 36GB 10k rpm HDD, 0 x I/O cards; IBM BladeCenter configuration for LS21: 2 power supplies, 2 blowers, 0 Switch Modules, 1 Management Module.

BL465c: 2 x 2.4GHz AMD Opteron 2216HE CPUs, 8 x 2GB DIMMs, 1 x 36GB 10k rpm HDD, 0 x I/O cards; HP c7000 Enclosure configuration for BL465c test: 2 power supplies, 4 fans, 0 Switch Modules, 1 Management Module.

[2] -- Results of up to 25.9 percent when idle, up to 13.6 percent with full load.

Side-by-side tests performed using the following blade server configurations:

BL460c: 2 x 2.66GHx Intel Xeon 5150 CPUs, 8 x 2GB DIMMs, 1 x 36GB 10k rpm HDD, 0 x I/O cards; HP c7000 Enclosure configuration for BL460c test: 2 power supplies, 4 fans, 0 Switch Modules, 1 Management Module.

HS21: 2 x 2.66GHz Intel Xeon 5150 CPUs, 8 x 2GB DIMMs, 1 x 36GB 10k rpm HDD, 0 x I/O cards; IBM BladeCenter configuration for HS21: 2 power supplies, 2 blowers, 0 Switch Modules, 1 Management Module.

[3] -- "The Rise to Power of Power: Dealing with the New Data Center Constraint," Jerald Murphy, Robert Frances Group. (2006)

[4] -- HP BLe introduced January 2002. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2002pmc/pr2002012801.html?jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

HP pClass introduced August 2002. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2002/020826c.html?jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

HP c-Class introduced June 2006. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2006/060614xa.html?jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

Contact(s) information

Vineeta Durani
IBM Media Relations
415-545-2350
vdurani@us.ibm.com

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System i, System p, System x, System z, BladeCenter, and Supercomputers

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