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IBM goes big green with Big Green

$1bn efficiency drive

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Comment IBM has announced it is redirecting $1bn per year across its businesses to increase the energy efficiency of IT operations.

Called Project Big Green, IBM's initiative targets corporate data centres where energy constraints and costs can limit their ability to grow.

The initiative includes a new global green team of 850+ energy efficiency architects from across IBM. The company stated that for an average 25,000 square foot data centre, the potential energy savings should be upwards of 42 per cent which, based on the energy mix in the US, would equate to a 7,439-tonne reduction in carbon emissions year.

Project Big Green outlines a five-step approach to improving energy efficiency. The five steps are:

  1. Diagnose: energy assessment, virtual 3-D power management, and thermal analytics
  2. Build: plan, build, or update to an energy-efficient data centre
  3. Virtualise: IT infrastructures and special-purpose processors
  4. Manage: control with power management software
  5. Cool: exploit liquid cooling solutions inside and out of the data centre.

The company also stated that it will soon launch The Energy Efficiency Incentive Finder, a central website for details about energy efficiency incentives and programmes that are available from local utility companies, governments, and other participating agencies anywhere in the world.

IBM Global Financing is positioned as part of Project Big Green to provide a green wrapper of financing solutions to help organisations acquire the hardware, software, and services they need to build an energy-efficient data centre while aligning upfront costs with anticipated project benefits.

IBM announced several products/services to address each of the steps outlined in Project Big Green. Among those announced for the Diagnose step are the IBM Data Centre Energy Efficiency Assessment, which utilises a new standard metric to rate datacenter energy efficiency and create a plan to increase efficiency; Mobile Measurement Technology, which measures 3-D temperature distributions through a new mobile position monitoring system; and the IBM Thermal Analysis for High Density Computing service.

For the Build step, IBM announced the Energy Efficiency Self Assessment as well as the IBM Scalable Modular Data Center, a pre-configured 500 or 1,000 square foot energy efficient data centre solution, among other offerings.

Other announcements included Tivoli management software that will expand the IBM Cool Blue portfolio to monitor power consumption, set power policies, and track energy usage to facilitate the charge back of departments; the PowerExecutive software, part of the IBM Systems Director portfolio, that will be available across all IBM systems and storage as of November 2007; and patented "stored cooling" solution, the IBM Data Centre Stored Cooling Solution service that dramatically increases the efficiency of the end-to-end cooling system.

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