IBM`s Solar Servers: Energy Efficiency for Datacenters - Big Green Goals
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Project Big Green launched with an ambitious goal: to design technology that will use 50 percent of current power levels and increase computer capacity tenfold. The timeline for achieving these lofty ambitions is the end of the decade.
In addition to these solar-powered servers, IBM's Project Big Green has come out with a few other impressive innovations, including:
- The Blue Gene Super Computer: This model has the highest rate of performance per kilowatt hour used of any super computer. The Blue Gene was recently given top rankings by the Green 500 list, which ranks systems by their energy efficiency.
- Global Asset Recovery System: This program allows businesses all over the world to dispose of their old IT infrastructure in a way that is both legal and good for the planet.
- The IBM active energy manager, whose capabilities we discussed earlier in this piece.
IBM is also giving their customers a chance to get in on the green and reduce their energy usage. One year after the launch of Project Big Green IBM announced that they are offering miniature versions of their high efficiency data centers, called modular data centers, that are compact and help companies to do the right thing while showing an immediate benefit to their bottom lines. This will help companies to take steps in the green direction without having to justify the upfront costs or fight the uphill battle with their investors.
This method of appealing not only to a company's desire to go green but also to the cost savings that can come from lowering their energy consumption has gained the attention of many industries that are very dependent on computers to service their customers, such as the studios that produce Hollywood blockbusters and the gaming industry.
Data center power usage is estimated to contribute two percent to annual carbon dioxide output worldwide every year. By moving to solar powered data centers, IBM estimated that the data center will keep 10 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.
The data center also consolidates the number of physical systems used. The scale of the cut back was amazing, from about 3900 servers to only 30. This is more than a 99 percent reduction in the amount of hardware that is used in order to service IBM's customers. This reduction in the physical servers relied heavily on IBM's virtualization technology. The servers were also switched to a Linux platform in order to make managing the servers from a control location easier.
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