IBM Unveils New Data Center Designs to Spread Green IT

IBM Unveils New Data Center Designs to Spread Green IT

IBM today announced the three newest additions to its Project Big Green line of data centers, providing solutions to help companies expand data centers both geographically and in terms of performance density.

The new data centers -- an enterprise-class modular facility, a portable modular facility, and a high-density data center offering -- apply the company's experience in designing highly efficient and high-performing data centers to a new range of products.

Since announcing Project Big Green in May 2007, IBM has built more than 40 of the scalable, modular data centers that were the first solution in the Big Green line. Brian Canney, the Servings Offering Executive for IBM's Global Site Facility Services division, explained that because IBM has built over 30 million square feet of raised floor space around the world, it has brought its expertise to these new solutions, which he said can reap significant benefits for the companies employing them.

"We can allow clients to save 40-50 percent of their energy use," Canney said. "They can basically double their capacity without using a single penny of additional power."

The new offerings bring IBM's data center design skill to several new and complementary areas. First, the Enterprise Modular Data Center builds on the original scalable unit IBM developed last year to allow businesses to start at 5,000 square feet of capacity and then expand as needed to up to 20,000 square feet of space.

Canney explained that data centers had traditionally been built bigger than needed, putting companies in the position of cooling extra space, as well as adding more servers at lower levels of utilization -- resulting in increased energy costs across the board. A modular data center, he said, allows a company to save money by incorporating an existing design, but also to expand fully into the space they already have and add new capacity only as needed.

Next, the Portable Modular Data Center comes in the size of a standard shipping container, and can be shipped to almost anywhere on the globe to provide nearly plug-and-play computing power.

A portable facility can address multiple needs from different types of companies. For example, a business looking to expand into emerging markets can use the portable data center to quickly get up to speed on its IT needs. A company that has hit the wall for its available data center floor space or energy capacity will be able to set up a remotely connected data center wherever it needs, whether in the parking lot or across town.

The final offering in today's announcement is a Modular High-Density Zone, designed to bring the latest cooling technology to existing data centers and allow increase the density of their facilities by as much as 800 percent.

Offering again the example of an older data center that was built to accommodate only a certain number of servers and has reached the limit of its cooling capacity, IBM's high-density zone brings cooling directly to the server rack. Canney said the technology exists to cool up to 30 kilowatts per rack, bringing a much higher energy density to data centers that were built several years ago.

The new data center designs have some significant green potential. The modular facility, for example, can be put to use in almost any remote location -- it needs only a power supply for the UPS, a water source for the chilling unit and a communication connection -- and companies can site the facility in an area with better options for renewable energy, whether they want to use solar, wind or geothermal energy to power the facility.