As part of its Project Big Green, IBM is virtualising 3,900 servers on 30 System Z mainframes running Linux partitions, a move it claims will save 80% on power bills and offer greater flexibility for future developments.
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Energy savings are slow to deliver a return on investment (ROI) and according to industry analysts, companies want to be seen to be green, but not at premium prices. Ian Brown, a senior analyst in Ovum's IT services practice, says the potential drivers are less to do with environmental issues and more to do with cost-cutting.
"They are running up against problems of how to keep their racks of servers cool, or they are running into space issues.”For them, there is a certain reality about the cost of the energy they are consuming and their ability to cram more capacity into the datacentre," he says.
Furthermore, Brown sees these issues as less compelling for SMEs. "The vast majority of small and medium enterprises do not have so much of an issue around power, cooling and energy consumption, and they are usually not aware of actual energy costs," he adds. "The bills are dealt with by the facilities manager rather than whoever manages the IT operations. It is only when the facilities manager knocks on the door to say that the energy bill has gone sky high that they become really aware of that.