April 23, 2008 08:00 ET

Web 2.0 Goes Green: IBM Pioneers New Server Design for Web-Based Organizations

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - Today at Web 2.0 Expo, IBM (NYSE: IBM) introduced an entirely new category of server uniquely designed to address the technology needs of companies that operate massive data centers with tens of thousands of servers, like online gaming, social networks and Search and Internet companies.

The IBM "iDataPlex" system leverages IBM's blade server heritage to build a completely new design point that:

--  More than doubles the number of systems that can run in a single rack,
--  Uses 40 percent less power while increasing the amount of computing
    that can be done five times(1),
--  Can be outfitted with a liquid cooling wall on the back of the system
    that enables it to run at "room temperature" -- no air conditioning
--  Uses all industry standard components as well as open source software
    such as Linux to lower costs.

Companies that operate massive scale-out data centers spend 10 to 30 times more on energy costs per square foot than a typical office building(2). The energy used powers both hundreds of thousands of servers and the air conditioning needed to cool them. The exponential growth of such data centers will continue as streaming video, online gaming and social networks spike Internet traffic, requiring companies to build ever vaster pools of computers that devour energy resources to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

IBM iDataPlex is a new rack system featuring design innovations in cooling and efficiency that will help it replace the inefficient "white-box" servers commonly used by such Internet companies. As consumers demand richer content and more immediate access to Web-based applications, iDataPlex will allow Web-focused companies and service providers to scale rapidly to meet this need.

IBM will deliver the iDataPlex system to clients globally. Among early clients who have already adopted or are actively considering iDataPlex are online gaming, social networking and Internet companies, as well as other organizations from China, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, including Yahoo! Inc., the leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide, and Texas Tech University, a major research university, law school and graduate school with 28,200 students.

iDataPlex in the Cloud

As part of IBM's "Blue Cloud" initiative, iDataPlex helps companies respond quickly to changes in workload demand, thus using energy more efficiently and improving the use of resources like power.

iDataPlex provides an ideal foundation for both enterprise cloud computing initiatives and clouds designed to host Web 2.0 applications.

Start-ups such as virtual-worlds company Forterra Systems are accessing an iDataPlex system in the IBM High Performance On Demand Solutions (HiPODS) lab in San Jose, California to test their applications in an IBM Cloud Center running on iDataPlex.

IBM also plans to use iDataPlex in its IBM Cloud Computing Centers in other locations such as the IBM Cloud Computing Center at Dublin and at the IBM Almaden Research Center.

iDataPlex is a natural complement to IBM's software initiatives in social networking, unified messaging and information integration, allowing companies to offer open, secure and standards-based solutions to their customers. IBM is also applying the latest Web 2.0 technologies internally to improve its own enterprise productivity, collaboration and innovation, and to drive measurable business results globally.

Technology Partner Ecosystem

Similar to its strategy to foster an ecosystem of third party technologies that work with IBM BladeCenter, IBM will team with vendors including Avocent, Blade Network Technology, Devon IT, Force 10 Networks, Intel, QLogic and SMC Networks to drive a product ecosystem around iDataPlex. Blade Network Technologies, for example, built its new RackSwitch G8000 Ethernet switch -- optimized for cost and efficient cooling -- specifically for iDataPlex.

In addition, Linux operating systems from IBM distribution partners Novell and Red Hat will be supported on iDataPlex as will the open source, scale-out cluster management solution xCat.


iDataPlex will be available in the U.S. and Canada in June and globally by the end of the year. iDataPlex is a custom built solution. Please contact an IBM sales representative for configuration and pricing details.

1. 2.4 number of racks x 10%u space (84u+12u=92u traditional racks/ 102u iDataPlex rack) x 2 (dual core x2 for quad core)= 5.28

2. Gary Shanshoian, Michele Blazek, Phil Naughton, Robert S. Seese, Evan Mills, and William Tschudi, "High-Tech Means High-Efficiency: The Business Case for Energy Management in High-Tech Industries."

Executive and Client Quotes

"Enterprise Web 2.0 and the emerging Cloud Computing sectors are among the top high growth investment areas for Hummer Winblad," said Ann Winblad, co-founder and a managing director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, an investor in enterprise Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing startups like Widgetbox, Sliderocket, Wavemaker, Elastra and Move Networks. "iDataPlex will help to fuel this growth by erasing some of the inhibitors holding Web 2.0 back -- namely the amount of space and energy required to serve content to more and more end users."

"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," said Bill Zeitler, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group. "iDataPlex will provide a foundation that companies can build on to provide improved services to Web users around the world."

"Yahoo! relies on ingenuity and technology to reduce our dependence upon energy. Many of our data centers utilize 'green energy' such as passive cooling to reduce our impact," said Laurie Mann, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations, Yahoo!. "We continue to look for ways to maximize our resources. Yahoo! appreciates the direction IBM is moving in with iDataPlex and its commitment to drive greater power efficiency and density in the datacenter."

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

"Like many start-ups, technology really is our core business in that Forterra's applications and business model rely on our technology infrastructure for success," said Dave Rolston, CEO, Forterra Systems. "iDataPlex provides the flexibility we're looking for to run our OLIVE -- or On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment -- platform together with breakthrough power and cooling efficiencies that we can pass on to our customers in the form of higher returns and faster payback."

"Web 2.0 companies will drive computing demand to a whole new level as we move from the Web as we knew it to the Web of the future. That's why Intel has been excited to be a part of the iDataPlex project from the beginning," said Jason Waxman, general manager of high density computing at Intel. "Collaborating with Intel, IBM took a different approach to design iDataPlex from the ground up to meet the needs of this unique market. iDataPlex is a tremendous step forward in delivering efficient, dense technology to Web 2.0 companies."

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