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IBM will sprinkle more greenery around its big computing offerings this week as it launches long-awaited updates to AIX and its Power-based server line.

The new OS and chip duo will be complemented by virtualisation software that will slot into the vendor's server consolidation – and by definition eco-conscious - pitch.

Big Blue discussed the Unix products earlier this week. The first blades running Power 6 are scheduled to be unveiled today, though the vendor has already blabbed some of the details to us.

The dual core Power 6, built with strained silicon, features an integrated memory controller. The combined effect is, apparently, to slash power consumption. The vendor has previously claimed the platform offers double the speed of the previous generation of chips for the same power draw, with obvious implications for server and data centre design. Starting prices, with hard disk, should be around the $10,000 mark.

New blades won't be much good without a suitable OS, and IBM has slated Friday for general availability of AIX 6. It's been six years since the vendor completely overhauled its flavour of Unix, and the industry has changed a lot in that time. The new OS will still be compatible with previous IBM chip platforms.

IBM has already flagged up features like virtualisation and kernel updates without the need to reboot. Virtualisation and partition features will allow live apps to be shifted around physical servers. The big push this week will be on high availability and power management, which ties in nicely with the latest chip platform.

It also ties in with the expected launch of Advanced Power Virtualisation Enterprise Edition later this month. This should give IT managers the ability to shift whole partitions around physical servers live, without having to reboot their systems. Among other benefits, this should allow updating and maintenance of systems during working hours when IT staff are still wide awake, not claiming overtime, and don't need all the lights on.

While server consolidation and more sensible maintenance routines have always appealed to server managers, IBM can now pitch these as power saving and therefore "green" features as well.

Last week, the vendor said it would offer data centres greenness certificates – overseen by a third party, of course - if they show they've reduced their power consumption. Now, what advice might IBM's green gurus offer any data centre manager looking to lower his power consumption. ®

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