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July 02, 2008

Lessons Learned from IBM's Big Green Initiative

GreenerComputing's David Metcalfe has just published a "lessons learned" story on what IBM has learned since announcing its Project Big Green initiative in May 2007 and its Project Big Green 2.0 announcements last month.

The article reports . . . "After 12 months of customer dialogue IBM's Big Green initiative expanded from a focus on hardware energy efficiency in the data centre to a consulting-lead offering for corporate energy efficiency and carbon management. Through its customer outreach IBM learnt six lessons about the commercialization of Green IT:

1. Exploit IT's information management role.
2. Hitch Green IT to data centre refurbishment projects.
3. Tackle corporate energy efficiency and emissions.
4. Differentiate offerings by industry and country.
5. Plan for slow customer adoption.
6. Prepare for investment barriers to IT energy efficiency."

Read the whole story here.

by Will Runyon July 2, 2008 in Assessments, Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, Services
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June 05, 2008

EPA Seeks Input on Data Center Energy Consumption

At the recent Uptime Institute Symposium in Orlando, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Andrew Fanara explained how their Energy Star Program is implementing a National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) via the EPA's Energy Star web site.  Managers of data centers can complete a series of forms that will be used to measure server energy use, power and cooling requirements, etc.  Hat tip to Matt Stansbury at

Watch more from Andrew Fanara.

by Will Runyon June 5, 2008 in Assessments, Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, SysAdmins, Who's Who
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May 23, 2007

Who would have guessed?

On May 10, IBM announced Project Big Green which is focused on helping customers to solve the end-to-end data center energy challenge. It includes:

  • IBM offerings to provide leadership energy efficient information technology (servers, storage),
  • Services to help the clients get the facts around their total energy use for both the data center infrastructure and their IT equipment and design,
  • A green grid supported metric to provide a standard of data center energy efficiency comparison,
  • Services and offerings to build new or retrofit green data centers and,
  • Tivoli Management systems that link the data center infrastructure to the IT technology including ability for Tivoli to use energy-based policy to automate things like workload consolidation and turning off unused IT equipment during low computing demand periods and bringing them  back on stream when demand returns.

In addition to the IBM announcements, Anixter, Eaton, Emerson/Liebert, GE, and Schneider/APC issued joint press releases with IBM, in support of Project Big Green or the IBM Energy Efficiency Initiative. They are each rolling out their own solutions to drive improved energy efficiency across their cooling and electrical offerings.

One final piece to the announcement included the Energy Efficiency Incentive Finder. The finder is an open systems based tool that will provide clients with a one stop shop to find government and energy utility incentives and programs that promote energy anywhere in the world that they have a data center. The tool should be available in 3Q2007 after the utility companies and governments around the world have had a chance to populate it with their programs.

Although IBM expected this to be of interest to the data center community… what is surprising is the reaction from the broader community. Within four hours of the announcement more then 250 articles had been published around the world. I suspect that part of this interest is related to the Gore global warming movement and wide interest in making the planet a better place to live for both ourselves and future generations. IBM estimated that energy savings on a typical 25,000 sq foot data center is equal to about $1.1M per year (at $0.12/Kw-hr) or about 5.2 Million pounds of coal that would not have to be used for power generation.

That is like taking about 920 cars off the road……. permanently. Maybe we should start a “Data center to save the planet” movement.

by Steve Sams May 23, 2007 in Assessments, Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, Services
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May 08, 2007

The Data Center Energy Crisis

Welcome to The Raised Floor blog, a group-authored discussion about today's and tomorrow's data centers. Please share your comments and come back often.

As I talk to customers around the world about their data centers it's obvious they're in crisis and in many cases are not really sure what to do.

This crisis appears to be a mismatch between requirements and capabilities. Let me give you some examples that reflect the trends I've seen from reading a number of the consulting studies over the last few years.

On the requirements side, to meet application demands and the regulatory requirements (Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, Basel II) customers are installing more and more technology. Over the last 10 years, one estimate is that the server install base has grown by 6X and the storage install base has grown by 69X (UPDATE: See correction below.)

If these numbers are close to being true, then data centers must be having problems trying to keep up with demand.

In my view, this demand on the data center has three flavors:

Technology demands - How do I install new dense technologies like Blade Servers in a data center that was never designed to support them? Technologies like blade servers are inexpensive, flexible, scalable and generally significantly more energy and cooling efficient than their predecessors. So expect to continue to see demand for these technologies skyrocket.

Demands for increased energy use - How do I get enough power and cooling to support my technology needs into my data center? Growth rates like those mentioned previously are putting huge pressures on the existing data center infrastructures that were built a number of years ago. One estimate is that more than 80% of current data centers were built prior to 2001. Gartner just published an opinion that any data center more than five years old is obsolete.

Demands for increased expense - Take the growth curve for servers and storage and turn it into a growth curve for energy use, and then multiply this logarithmic increase in energy use with increasing energy cost. I don't know about your location, but the cost of energy has been growing at double-digit rates where I live. The impact on IT expense is significant. Power may now be 30-40% of the IT operations budget, if energy is actually charged out to users based on real costs.

If these demands appear to reflect your data center environment, then what should we all be doing?

CORRECTION: The projected 6x growth in servers and 69x growth in storage is expected to occur between the years 2000 and 2010.

by Steve Sams May 8, 2007 in Assessments, Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, Services, SysAdmins, Virtualization, Who's Who
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