Electronic Design

IBM Mainframe To Gauge Energy Consumption

Just as cars have miles-per-gallon statistics, IBM mainframe computers will soon bear details on their energy consumption. And customers will be able to monitor that usage in real-time. IBM's new disclosure policy is the first to embrace recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations that server vendors publish typical energy consumption figures. The goal is to allow customers to make informed decisions based on energy efficiency. IBM's reporting will show customers how much juice its System z9 mainframe uses. For the past two months, the company has been monitoring nearly 1,000 customer machines to determine average watts/hour consumed. IBM determined that typical energy use can be about 60 percent of the maximum rating for current mainframe measurements. The key, IBM says, is in using a single mainframe to execute the same workload as a number of x86 servers that incorporate more power-consuming components. "A single mainframe running Linux may be able to perform the same amount of work as approximately 250 x86 processors while using as little as 2 to 10 percent of the amount of energy," David Anderson PE, IBM green consultant, said in a statement. With IBM's monitoring system, users can compare the energy consumed with the amount of work actually performed. Internal sensors track a mainframe's actual energy and cooling statistics. That data gets displayed in real-time on the System Activity Display. "Customers can now measure the energy advantages of IBM System z," Anderson said. Energy monitoring is part of IBM's "Project Big Green," a $1 billion investment in increasing the energy efficiency of IBM products. It launched in May 2007 and involves the efforts of more than 850 energy-efficiency architects.

TAGS: Components
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