Big Blue Gets Lean and Green

Before the sun sets on another Earth Day (or at least before the clock strikes midnight) IBM has squeezed in its announcement of some very cool servers designed for cloud computing. No, they’re actually cool: The iDataPlex servers run at room temperature, which means they require less less air conditioning. IBM doesn’t say what room temperature is, but will use water to cool the servers — much like the company is pushing water-cooled microprocessors in its Hydro-Cluster supercomputer.

The H2O is cooling a 4-foot-by-2-foot rack with the equivalent processing power of 100 servers, so the iDataPlex server takes up less floor space inside a data center. There’s also an option to get the non water-cooled servers, which reduce power consumption by about 20 percent, but will still add to the overall A/C bill. Information about pricing wasn’t given, but I imagine these will not come cheap.

A green effort by a computing giant, the servers are also a practical nod to the incredible amount of processing power the world is continuing to consume. These servers are designed to support the web-based applications and services that many firms, from Facebook to Google, are pushing. Instead of running  programs and storing data on a personal computer, the action now takes place in a data center somewhere.

IBM is designing energy efficiency into servers supporting this business model not only as a PR move, but also as a nod to reality. With more and more information being processed in the cloud, it’s becoming more and more difficult to justify the enormous amounts of power data centers consume. Now, let’s see what iDataPlex servers cost.



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