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

IBM to Double Computing Capacity in its Own Data Centers, Uses New Technologies to Avoid Five Billion Kilowatt Hours of New Energy Use

NEW YORK, NY - 10 May 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:

  1. DIAGNOSE: Evaluate existing facilities -- energy assessment, virtual 3-D power management and thermal analytics
  2. BUILD: Plan, build or update to an energy efficient data center
  3. VIRTUALIZE: Virtualize IT infrastructures and special purpose processors
  4. MANAGE: Seize control with power management software
  5. 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.

 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:

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.  

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. 

 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 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:

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It's green, it's 3-D, and it's real. The avatar of IBM researcher Donna Dillenberger stands in a new video-game like virtual environment that she and her team built. The 3-D environment is designed to facilitate power management.

IBM Project Big Green

IBM Cool Blue -- Thermal and conventional images of three IBM server racks demonstrate the capabilities of the water cooling device, IBM's "Cool Blue" Rear Door Heat Exchanger. The server in the middle gives off virtually no heat, lowering energy consumption by reducing cooling requirements.

IBM Project Big Green -- IBM is committing $1 billion annually to transform the world’s business and public technology infrastructures into "green" data centers, through new IBM energy efficient products and services. IBM operates eight million square feet of data center space on six continents, in which the company expects to save more than five billion kilowatt hours per year.


Take a look around a virtual IBM data center inside Second Life

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1 [1] Source: IDC, Worldwide Server Power and Cooling Expense 2006–2010 Forecast, Doc #203598, September 2006

2 [2] Based on greenhouse gas production, the size of a carbon footprint is determined by the amount of carbon dioxide that comes from human activities.

3 [3] Source: IDC, Worldwide Server Power and Cooling Expense 2006–2010 Forecast, Doc #203598, September 2006

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