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Big Blue = Big Green: IBM set to push green data center services

By Layer 8 on Wed, 05/09/07 - 5:49pm.

Looks like Big Blue wants to be Big Green.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that IBM tomorrow will launch a major push  to help customers  cut their data center energy bills and redesign their data centers to be more environmentally friendly.  IBM is calling its plan "project Big Green," and is comparing it to the commitment it made 10 years ago to embrace the Internet and later Linux free software, both for its own use and as a service business for corporate and government customers, the WSJ says.  The service will  be manned by  1,000 services experts from its Global Service division.  According to the WSJ, IBM will says it expects to be able to double the current computing capacity of its own data centers by 2010 without using additional energy. It said that would avoid about $500 million in electricity costs it would otherwise have endured.  Indeed IBM has been going green internally for a number of years. Last December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded IBM a 2006 Green Power Purchasing Award for its use of renewable energy purchases in the U.S., including wind, solar and biomass-generated electricity. IBM purchased 96,000 megawatt-hours (MWH) of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and 13,704 MWH of electricity generated by wind turbines, solar panels or biomass. At the time that was the largest purchase by a Fortune 10, company, making IBM the 7th largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, IBM said.    At the time, IBM said its climate programs include setting carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction and energy efficiency objectives for the its own operations, and focusing on product energy efficiency. In addition, the programs help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing processes, encourage the use of energy efficient freight operators, support employee commuting programs, and promote buying renewable energy. A number of products and services are expected tomorrow as well. For example, the WSJ says the IBM Data Center Stored Cooling Solution -- a cooling system that sits outside the data center and uses a synthetic liquid solution to cool chillers that regulate air conditioning units. The product was already named the "best new energy product" by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers. IBM already sells its eServer Rear Door Heat eXchanger -- “Cool Blue” --- which reduces server heat emissions by as much as 55%, IBM says. Cool Blue - or the IBM eServer Heat eXchanger - camps on the back of an IBM rack, and by using the chilled water supplies already in data centers, cools the air expelled from servers. The Heat eXchanger consists of sealed tubes inside the door that circulate chilled water. It can remove as much as 50,000 BTUs of heat. The remaining 45% of the heat expelled from the server rack would be handled by traditional computer room air conditioning units. IBM's event is expected to include representatives from a number of partner companies including General Electric; Pacific Gas & Electric  and Schneider Electric.  PG&E last year offered to pay as much as 50% of the setup costs — a maximum $4 million per customer — for its customers who opt to use virtualization software to reduce server counts and power and cooling costs in their data centers. Green data centers are certainly all the rage as large customers look to save money and reduce their impact on the environment.