IBM Creates Modular Data Centers

June 12, 2008 —  One year after it committed US$1 billion to reduce energy consumption for both its customers and its own facilities, IBM has created modular data center designs to cut data center energy use in half.

IBM kicked into gear a number of new initiatives yesterday to bring about what is essentially the second phase of Project Big Green, the company’s goal to create more energy-efficient products. Its new modular data center design allows companies to bring new data centers online three to six months sooner than a custom version, IBM executives claimed.

A portable version of the modular data center has elements of raised-floor data centers, including protection from fire, smoke, humidity and temperature changes. The portable version can operate with multiple technologies from different companies.

IBM also created high-density zones, which are modular systems with incremental cooling and power capabilities in existing data centers. High-density zone systems can be placed into existing data centers, and IBM said it can result in up to 35 percent cost savings.

The company has developed a method to cool computer chips by stacking circuits onto components, with small “rivers” of water to cool them. This is IBM’s latest attempt to utilize more liquid forms of cooling. At the start of Project Big Green, IBM created the cold battery, a state-changing material that can turn from a liquid into a solid to improve the efficiency of data center chillers.

Other new announcements made for Project Big Green include a new version of software for its storage virtualization system, and new services to help customers with data center storage. IBM SAN Volume Controller 4.3 has better control over disk space use, the company said. New services have been created to help customers utilize VMware’s server virtualization capabilities and handle challenges in skill transfer and change management.

Project Big Green was started last summer, and IBM set a goal to double its server capacity by 2010 without increasing energy consumption. IBM has over 10,000 servers around the world, and it identified 3,900 of them for server consolidation. Those will be consolidated onto 33 mainframes.

Related Search Term(s): Cooling, data centers, green computing, virtualization, IBM

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