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These days just about every high technology vendor is “keen to be green.” However, few vendors can match IBM for its pioneering efforts and long term commitment to energy efficient solutions that are both good for the planet and good for recession racked enterprises.

This week, IBM took another giant step in its green data efforts. It officially launched its Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency initiative, which is a comprehensive, compelling set of new hardware, software and services offerings designed to help customers build, manage and maintain more energy efficient infrastructures.

IBM’s Managing Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency initiative serves as a blueprint for vendors and corporate customers to follow and emulate in their respective efforts to reduce power consumption, utility costs and their carbon footprints in the pursuit of greater system, application and network equipment economies of scale.

Declaring that “Environmental sustainability is an imperative for 21st Century business,” Rich Lechner, IBM’s VP of Energy & Environment, outlined IBM’s ambitious plan. Lechner and Chris O’Connor, VP of Tivoli Strategy, Product Management and SWG Green said that Big Blue worked with some 3,200 customers over the past two years to construct and validate metrics on energy usage and costs. Among the key findings from these efforts:

  • IT energy expenses are expected to increase 35% between 2009 and 2013
  • An overwhelming 80% of CEOs expect climate change regulations in five years
  • Buildings account for 40% of worldwide energy consumption

The company’s new products and services are the product of years of primary research and extensive research and development (R&D) in which the company has. spared no effort or expense in its quest to “go green” and assist its customers. It addresses the full spectrum of Green IT issues including: conservation, pollution prevention, consolidation and regulatory compliance initiatives for the physical devices and facilities and using renewable energy sources.

Managing Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency

IBM’s Managing Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency calls for corporations to build Green Infrastructures, Sustainable Solutions and Intelligent Systems. IBM’s plan is backed by a wide array of product offerings such as the Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management and enhancements to the existing Tivoli Business Service Manager. IBM is offering customer a free trial of the Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management.

The Tivoli Energy Management solution is supported by IBM hardware and IBM Global Services. The latter includes chargeback and accounting services and the ability to demonstrate to customers how to optimize assets (plant and facilities) and improve energy usage.

On the hardware front, IBM is embedding new capabilities in its x86 servers through consolidation which can result in an astounding 95% reduction of power compared to servers built three or four years ago.

IBM also has a Green Infrastructure ROI analysis tool. This is an interactive Web-based assessment toll that provides business with benchmarks on green/energy efficiency performance. It also provides the customers with specific recommendations to reduce energy consumption.

IBM also has a full set of services offerings to assist corporations in reviewing their current consumption and infrastructure and constructing customized plans for Green IT. IBM also has agreements in place with a number of technology partners – including Novell and Thunderhead – to deliver solutions that are certified to reduce environmental impact.

Going Green is Good Business

According to Lechner and O’Connor, Green IT initiatives will yield tangible benefits. Actual dollar value cost savings will vary according to the business and its specific cost cutting efforts. IBM customer Care2 for instance, cut energy consumption by 70% and reduced energy usage by 340 megawatt hours with proactive management. Another enterprise customer, Nationwide Insurance anticipates it will save $15 million (US dollars) over the next three years, including an 85% to 90% reduction in server utilization rates via virtualization and an 80% decrease in its environmental costs.

Not surprisingly, Lechner and O’Connor said that IBM practices what it preaches: IBM’s Austin facility achieved a 150% capacity increase while simultaneously cutting energy consumption by 25%. Those figures were good enough for the EPA to rank IBM’s Austin facility number 31 on its list of Greenest hardware vendors.

“Four years ago when we worked with clients [regarding energy efficiency] the discussion was academic,” Lechner said. “Now they want IBM to help them with Proof of Concept (POC) initiatives. The ROI for Green IT is two years or less,” he added.

Analysis

IBM’s Managing Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency is the real deal. It is the result of years of dedication and commitment. And it shows. As one of the founding developers of the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) in 2004 IBM has always backed up its words with action. The EICC is a code of best practices adopted and implemented by some of the world’s major electronics brands and their suppliers. Its goal is to improve conditions in the electronics supply chain.

It is well known and well documented that demand for Green desktop and server hardware and services will increase significantly over the next one-to-five years. Governments, states, municipalities and utility firms are now offering consumers and businesses a mixture of incentives, backed by mandates to reduce costs, power consumption and produce hardware, whose material components won’t poison the planet when it comes time to discard and/or recycle them.

Green IT initiatives are rising sharply and it’s easy to see why. The energy used to process and route server requests and transactions will exceed 100 Billion kilowatts (kWh) at an annual cost of $7.4 Billion by the year 2011, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PCs and servers are currently the biggest hogs consuming 60% of peak power even when idle!!! This is double the energy servers used in 2006!

Corporations have a choice: go green voluntarily or be compelled to do so by a slew of new regulations which are now being written into law. For example, one of the mandates of the Green Building Act of 2006 requires that commercial buildings in Washington, D.C. larger than 50,000 sq. ft. must meet or exceed New Construction standards by 2012. Others are voluntary like the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It allows building owners to realize a tax savings of $1.80 per sq. ft. for new commercial buildings that reduce regulated energy use by 50%.

ITIC’s own survey data indicates that 74% of corporate data centers face limitations and constraints on space, power consumption and the rising costs associated with energy and physical plant leasing/rentals. The obvious solution is to cut energy consumption and utility costs, which in turn, reduce carbon emissions and cut the greenhouse gases.

IBM’s Managing Dynamic Infrastructure for Energy Efficiency initiative is a well-conceived and powerful set of products and services. It solidifies IBM’s reputation and position as an energy efficiency pioneer. Few vendors can match IBM in this area. IBM is well positioned to help corporations achieve their goals of cutting costs, consolidating server hardware and physical plant space and ultimately becoming carbon neutral. Corporations are urged to examine IBM’s products and services and test them for themselves.