IBM targets data centre power crisis

New services are being rolled out to target corporate energy waste

IBM is to start offering a range of services to try to quell a growing energy crisis in corporate data centres.

The company hopes its new portfolio of five services will slash data centre power costs and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

As data centres use a greater density of servers and each server becomes ever more powerful, the cost of supplying those data centres with power — and cooling the servers — is continually increasing.

Gartner, the analyst group, estimates that high-density blade servers can use up to 15 times the electricity of traditional server environments. A doubling of electricity prices in the last two years has compounded the problem for many businesses.

Three-quarters of corporate executives say that buying energy-efficient products is now of increasing importance, according to market research firm Harris Interactive.

"CIOs are facing a power and cooling crisis in their data centres," said Steven Sams, the vice president of IBM's site and facilities services division, which will offer the new data centre services.

IBM aims to offer a range of design and implementation services to help businesses plan data centre expansion, while at the same time reducing electricity consumption.

The services are:

  • An assessment of an organisation's ability to support high-density computing
  • An evaluation of, and solutions for, heat-related issues
  • Design and deployment of flexible racking solutions
  • Evaluation of the potential for data centre consolidation and relocation on a global scale
  • A module-based data centre for SMEs

Other vendors are trying to solve the perceived energy crisis by producing more efficient server equipment.

Sun revealed an initiative to promote energy efficiency with the appointment of a vice president of eco-responsibility, David Douglas, six months ago.

Sun says it has designed some of its servers, including the Sun Fire 1000 and 2000, to consume as little as 20 percent of the power of competing alternatives.

"There are people running out of power in their data centres, and thinking about energy, but [who] have not yet moved to the next stage — managing power consumption — which is a sizeable piece of their budget," said Douglas.

Douglas says that some companies are spending 20 percent of their IT budget purely on electricity. Gartner estimates that figure could rise to as much as 50 percent over the next few years.

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