IBM unveils 5 IT services to better data centres

To help customers cope with increasing power and cooling demands in their corporate data centers, IBM Tuesday unveiled five IT services aimed at creating and upgrading data centers that run more efficiently.

In an announcement Tuesday, IBM said the new service offerings should help customers handle the addition of densely-packed blade servers that run hotter than conventional servers and adjust data center operations for new technologies.

“Customer data centers appear to us to be facing a significant crisis,” said Steven Sams, vice president of IBM’s Site and Facilities Services unit. As dense blade servers have been added, data center cooling and power needs have risen, he said.

“It’s always been something that data centers had to manage, but not at the scale they have to manage today,” Sams said.

Older data centers packed with dense blade servers often have heat dissipation requirements that are 10 times what they had a few years ago, Sams said. “When you’re putting something in the environment that puts out 10 times that [original heat], it puts a wrinkle in the equation.”

The following are the new data center services:

— High-Density Computing Readiness Assessments to help customers review their ability to support high-density computing and identify and fix issues that could stifle success.

— Thermal Analysis for High Density Computing to find and repair heat-related issues, while identifying options for power savings and future expansion.

— Integrated Rack Solution for High-Density Computing to help customers design, deploy and manage flexible rack-mounted hardware to take advantage of new technologies in existing data centers.

— Data Center Global Consolidation and Relocation Enablement to help customers save money by consolidating and relocating data centers around the world.

— Scalable Modular Data Centers for Small and Medium-size Businesses to help customers more quickly install new data centers using modular building blocks that provide power, cooling, security and monitoring. The new facilities can be as small as 500 square feet.

Brad Day, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said the new services will likely be helpful because IBM will use the customer’s existing hardware, even if it is from competitors like Hewlett-Packard Co. or Sun Microsystems Inc.

“What IBM is saying is ‘Let us be the prime contractor for all of this,'” while using its own extensive experience in running data centers for customers and for itself, he said. “They’re raising their hands, and they have the chutzpah to do it.”

A key part of the new services offering is that IBM will charge data center assessment fees of as low as US$20,000 to $30,000, Day said, which will allow a much wider range of businesses to consider these kinds of services, he said.

IBM said it has designed and built more than 30 million square feet of data center facilities for its customers and more than 400 data centers in its own facilities worldwide.

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