IBM and HP’s Green Data Centers

Ovum has an article about IBM and HP’s efforts in Green Data Centres.

Graham Titterington

IBM and HP move towards green data centres

Recent announcements from IBM and HP show that energy consumption in the data centre is now attracting high-level attention in both enterprises and IT vendors. Graham Titterington compares these two initiatives and puts them into a wider perspective.

IBM announced enterprise additions to its Project Big Green this week, a week after HP announced its Sustainability Laboratory. Both vendors have a history of interest in this area, but HP has achieved a higher profile for its efforts. The HP announcement included long-term data centre issues while IBM concentrated on new product releases to help in this area. However, there were large areas of agreement and overlap in the two presentations, and both said that energy use has become a high-level concern for enterprises, which will grow in importance. Both see an immediate opportunity for savings in energy use with a strong financial investment case through monitoring and intelligent control systems. IBM talks of the payback period from investments in this area being less than two years. Both back these claims with case studies, although at this early stage these are thin on the ground at present. The environmental payback period may be longer where this involves hardware replacement.

Comparing Smart Cooling vs. Monitoring.

The medium term - monitoring and intelligent control

HP claims it has achieved a 40% energy saving at a new data centre it has recently built in Bangalore by deploying its 'smart cooling' technology. IBM claims similar savings in the short term by deploying its current technology including its new monitoring systems. Tivoli monitoring software has been extended from processor monitoring to include all aspects of the data centre facility. It monitors kilowatts of power consumption, and not just processor utilisation. It provides connections into several important business activities to make it an attractive proposition for business:

HP is taking inventory of energy consumption along the supply chain.

HP has shown a commendable attention to lifetime issues in its green IT agenda. This is continuing in the current announcement. It points out that the energy required to smelt bauxite into aluminium to make a server is equivalent to the energy the server will use in two years of its life. It is now embarking on a project to build up a database of lifecycle energy consumption to create a comprehensive database from which lifecycle issues can be more accurately evaluated. It promises to put the results in the public domain, and is appealing for partners to help populate this.