IBM`s Solar Servers: Energy Efficiency for Datacenters
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Big Blue is going to have to file for a name change to Big Green. The industry titan that is IBM has, earlier this year, switched from a more traditional data center model to a system that is completely planet friendly. The system, which is run on the power of our solar system's largest thermonuclear reactor, the sun, went from its concept stage to a fully functioning reality in just about seven months.
The system is made up of the technologies of IBM and its partner companies exclusively. The system's power is collected by a network of 120 individual solar panels. These panels power the brains of the IBM data center, the IBM System X3650 servers.
This decision was just as much about improving the bottom line as it was about reducing the "carbon footprint" that the company leaves here on Planet Earth. This change allowed for the consolidation of the data center, reduced costs for hardware and in the long run will lower energy bills for IBM.
The 120 solar panels in use to power the systems are not only a cost savings but an interesting bit of creative engineering in their own right. The system's panels use 7cm 2 photovoltaic cells. These cells are then given a turbo boost when they are placed under a large lens. The lens acts like a magnifying glass does on a bright day, focusing the power of the sun to achieve more intense results.
How much more intense? Well, the use of the lenses increased the productivity of the photovoltaic cells by a factor of 10, or 10 times the rate without the lens. To give you an example, this means a cell that would usually generate 10 watts per hour can, with the help of this lens generate 100 watts.
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