IBM Gas Gauge lets mainframe customers see energy use in real time

Big Blue this week launched a program that lets mainframe customers monitor energy use in real time.  IBM’s metering system works by grabbing energy and cooling statistic from internal sensors that are now standard equipment in the company’s System z9 mainframes.  The stats are shown real time on the System Activity Display. With this system, a user can now correlate the energy consumed with work actually performed. When the machine reports its maintenance health on a weekly basis, the power statistics may be used. These statistics can be observed real time or also summarized for project or trend analysis. Energy consumption statistics are used for demonstrating cost savings toward electric rebates and programs to reduce data center energy consumption, IBM said.  In addition a Power Estimator Tool is also available to calculate how changes in system configurations and workloads can affect the Big Iron’s energy consumption -- including the power needed to both run and cool the machines.  For example, IBM says a customer adding a single mainframe processor for Linux applications could project the amount of additional energy required before and when the feature is turned on. Normally less than 20 watts are added when an Integrated Facility for Linux feature is turned on. Typically, a single mainframe processor with zVM virtualization can perform the work of multiple x86 processors, because of the mainframe's ability to run many mixed workloads at high utilization rates. A single processing chip executing hundreds of workloads efficiently is the key to consuming much less energy than many x86 servers which have many more power consuming components. IBM also said it will begin publishing typical energy consumption data for the IBM System z9 mainframe. The data is derived from actual field measurements of approximately 1,000 customer machines, determining average watts/hour consumed which can be used to calculate watts per unit -- similar to automobile miles per gallon estimates and appliance kilowatt per year ratings. IBM has summarized the field population data for each month since August 2, 2007, when the EPA published the report to Congress on Data Center and Server Energy Efficiency.  The August EPA report said data centers in the United States use about 1.5% of all electricity consumed in the country, and that total use had doubled in the past five years. The EPA warned that usage will double again if current data center power consumption trends continue. The EPA encouraged server vendors to publish typical energy usage numbers to help customers make informed decisions based on energy efficiency.  IBM said the mainframe gas gauge is part of its Project Big Green is a $1 billion investment announced in May, to increase the efficiency of IBM products. The initiative also includes a green service that offers up the expertise of more than 850 IBM energy efficiency architects. Also as part of the project, IBM recently said it was consolidating nearly 4,000 small computer servers in six locations onto about 30 refrigerator-sized mainframes running Linux saving $250 million in the process.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022