IBM announced the start of a $1 billion-a-year investment program to double the energy efficiency of its computer data centers and those of its corporate customers:
By 2010, IBM plans to double the computing capacity of its hundreds of data centers worldwide without increasing power consumption, by using an array of hardware, software and services. These include a new cooling system that stores energy and chills the data center only as needed; software to increase the use of computers and automatically switch them to standby mode when not needed; and 3-D modeling and thermal engineering techniques to optimize the air flow through data centers.
IBM will use these technologies itself, and offer them to its corporate customers. The company designs and oversees the building of data centers for clients globally, with more than 30 million square feet of floor space in the last decade. The company designed and built 20 data centers in China alone last year.
"What's significant is IBM's emphasis on using a range of technologies and on planning, design and user practices," said Christopher Mines, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It's not just about selling new, more efficient chips and computers. And that is in contrast to some of its peers in the industry."