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IBM Unveils Cool Web 2.0 Server System
IBM Unveils Cool Web 2.0 Server System

By Mark Long
April 24, 2008 9:10AM

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IBM iDataPlex is built for stateless computing that effectively turns many separate computers into a "cloud" of shared resources. The new iDataPlex will enable businesses running Web 2.0 apps to meet user demand.

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IBM has unveiled a new server offering aimed at large enterprises with online operations that make use of Web 2.0-style computing. The IBM iDataPlex features innovative cooling and efficiency improvements that can help online organizations dramatically lower the cost of operating massive data centers with tens of thousands of servers, IBM executives said.

"With iDataPlex, IBM is making Web 2.0-style computing more efficient and commercializing it for Internet companies and other high performance segments like financial services and research," explained the senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group Bill Zeitler. "iDataPlex can provide a foundation that companies can build on to provide improved services to Web users around the world," he said.

Double Digit Savings

The exponential growth of online traffic due to the popularity of video streaming, online gaming and social networking is forcing many large organizations with an online presence to build ever vaster pools of computers that devour energy resources on a 24/7 basis. IBM notes that these massive data centers typically force many enterprises to spend 10 to 30 times more on energy costs per square foot than a typical office building. But that's about to change.

IBM says iDataPlex has been designed to reduce power consumption by 40% while simultaneously increasing the amount of computing that can be done by a factor of five. To achieve these breakthroughs IBM said it created a design that, among other things, turns the standard rack on its side.

According to Big Blue, the new server offering can be outfitted with a liquid-cooled back wall that will enable the system to run at room temperature -- eliminating the need for expensive air conditioning systems. And even without water cooling, IBM claims, iDataplex will run at least 20% cooler then a conventional rack approach.

The double-digit cost savings can be "a hefty amount by any measure" for a company like Google, which has an installed base of 1 million "white box" servers, each with 2 processors consuming 235 watts of power, notes Wintergreen Research President Susan Eustis in a new report.

Custom Built

IBM iDataPlex is built for stateless computing that effectively turns many separate computers into a "cloud" of shared resources. The design approach will enable online businesses running Web 2.0 applications to scale up rapidly to meet consumer demand for richer content and more immediate access to Web-based applications.

The Internet-style computing model on which iDataPlex is based is highly attractive to the Texas Tech University because, like Web 2.0 companies, its High Performance Computing Center needs to scale rapidly to support an ever increasing demand for high performance computing, said Texas Tech University CIO Sam Segran. "With iDataPlex, Texas Tech will be able to operate more efficiently while meeting the needs of our researchers," Segran said.

IBM iDataPlex is slated to go on sale in the U.S. and Canada next June, and will be come available globally by the end of this year. Each system is custom-built at the factory so that it is ready to run once it arrives at the customer' site. IBM claims that the unique factory-configured delivery model can lower the cost of iDataPlex significantly below that of a comparable "white box" system.


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