Twenty-seven of IBM’s data centers in Europe were just recently called out for being, well, good environmental citizens. The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the European Union (EU), awarded the data centers for energy efficiency, based on EU’s Code of Conduct for Data Centers.
The data centers represent more than 70 percent of IBM’s strategic outsourcing data centers in 15 European countries, and represent the largest largest number of data centers from one company to receive the honor.
The honor, by the way, means that the data centers fulfill the requirements set by the EU’s Code of Conduct that was created in response to increasing energy consumption in data centers. The EU Code of Conduct sets guidelines for the industry in an effort to encourage data center operators and owners to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner without decreasing mission-critical data center functions. As part of the guidelines, data centers are assessed on their power usage effectiveness (PUE) and against a set of best practices designed to reduce energy losses, including the use of energy efficient hardware, installing free cooling and cold aisle containment. PUE is an indicator for how efficiently a computer data center uses its power. In May, the Uptime Institute gave IBM data centers a rating of 1.65 for average power usage compared to the industry average of 1.8.
The IBM data centers honored by the EU leverage cloud computing and other energy improvements that were added to support IBM’s goal, set in 2007, of doubling the IT capacity of its data centers within three years without increasing the power consumption. Those improvements include such technologies as analytics (developed by IBM Research) known as Mobile Measurement Technology (MMT) that instrument the data centers with thousands of sensors to record and analyze temperatures and air flow to detect hot and cold spots. By providing energy flow insight, MMT provides the intelligence to efficiently cool data centers with a high measure of security and reliability, and significant reduction in cost.
One such U.S. data center that uses these sensors to smarten operations is the data center at Syracuse University (SU). The highly-instrumented 12,000-square-foot facility was built in partnership with IBM and the New York state government and became full operational in January 2010.
In a prepared statement, IBM chairman of Europe Harry van Dorenmalen said the EU recognition is important since “energy and climate-related issues are part of IBM's long standing corporate commitment to environmental leadership. Based on our Smarter Planet vision we can substantially reduce energy consumption in many ways in our society.”
IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, which has been underway since 2008, is focused on several imperatives, including turning information into insights and driving enterprise operations’ effectiveness and efficiencies, both of which are part of the data centers.