As a journalist, I am sometimes accused of using terms with too vague a meaning. Like sustainability, which I've defined here as it relates to technology, or cloud computing, which I use to refer to private or public infrastructure that is accessed from a remote location over the Internet. I apologize in advance, but this blog entry will actually grapple with both.
I was just reading about a new IBM data center in North Carolina, which has been built with cloud computing and related outsourcing relationships in mind. The fact is, this facility is also one of the greenest data centers you will find anywhere; the energy costs are roughly one-half those for a building of comparable size.
This is relevant, I believe, because if you really want to get down to it, cloud computing is about an evolution of technology outsourcing. It's also about the ability to get a whole lot smarter from an energy-efficiency and operations standpoint.
Consider the case of the United States Golf Association (USGA), which is one of the first strategic clients in the new IBM facility. By moving its data center to the site, the organization was able to guarantee better reliability of its various Web sites AND get smarter about its data center operations. Says Alex Withers, managing director of USGA's digital media activities:
"The migration of our USPEN.com operations to IBM's new data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, reduced our energy consumption by 38 percent and floor space requirements by 54 percent. We count on IBM to deliver a cost-effective, reliable and scalable hosting environment that supports the presentation of our world-class championships to players and fans."
You'll notice that word scalable. That's because the IBM facility can be built out quickly to accommodate additional capacity by using its Enterprise Modular Data Center design principles. Simply put, IBM has created preconfigured units that it can put in quickly as client needs demand. That has helped it defer up to 40 percent of the capital costs associated with building up new data center capacity in this facility.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com