IBM said the plan, dubbed Project Big Green, could help the typical enterprise realize IT energy savings of 42%, adding up to a total of 7,439 tons of carbon emissions saved per year in the United States, IBM estimates.
Businesses have good reason to focus on their computing systems' power consumption, as they spend roughly 50 cents on energy for every dollar spent on hardware, according to research firm IDC. "The data center energy crisis is inhibiting our clients' business growth as they seek access to computing power," said Mike Daniels, IBM's senior VP for global technology services.
Under Project Big Green, IBM has developed a five-step program for companies looking to cut power use in the data center. It calls for an initial assessment using software that renders a three-dimensional model of power use, building or renovating existing facilities to make them eco-friendly, virtualizing infrastructures to reduce hardware needs, using power management software, and using liquid cooling systems to reduce heat emissions.
IBM is already working with Pacific Gas and Electric to help it cut its energy use. PG&E will consolidate nearly 300 Unix servers onto six IBM System p servers, helping to reduce its energy use by 80%. PG&E will also use IBM virtualization technologies to boost utilization of the systems from 10% capacity to over 80%. In addition, PG&E will deploy IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger water-cooling technology on the System p servers to reduce heat in the data center by up to 60%, IBM said.
Earlier this month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted what he said was his company's progress on building a more environmentally friendly business.