IBM sells energy-efficient Intel and AMD rack and BladeCenter servers

IBM is offering more energy-efficient rack and blade servers that use reduced watt processors from AMD and Intel.

IBM today is introducing eight Intel- and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)-based rack and blade servers that it said are more energy efficient.

More on energy-efficient servers and processors:
Dell pushes green computing initiative, offers low power AMD servers

Intel intros low-voltage quad-core Xeon ahead of AMD

AMD high efficiency Opteron chips push the thermal envelope

The servers include reduced watt quad-core and dual-core Intel Xeon processors and the dual-core AMD Opteron processor. IBM also said the reduced power consumption from the machines also comes from the ability to detach storage from the hardware and put it on shared storage, such as network attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN), as well as more energy-efficient network switches.

IBM's announcement came today at the Blade Systems Insight conference in Savannah, Ga., and follows on the heels of Dell Inc.'s recent announcement of energy-efficient AMD-based PowerEdge servers. IBM's offerings, available today, include:

  • BladeCenter HS21 with 50-watt 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Xeon, starting at $3,067
  • BladeCenter HS21 with 50-watt 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Xeon, starting at $3,189
  • BladeCenter HS21 with 40-watt 2.33GHz dual-core Intel Xeon, starting at $2,809.
  • BladeCenter LS21 with 68-watt 1.8GHz dual-core AMD Opteron, starting at $1,979.
  • BladeCenter LS41 with 68-watt 2GHz dual-core AMD Opteron, starting at $9,299.
  • System x3550 1U rackmount with 50-watt 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Xeon, starting at $2,999.
  • System x3650 2U rackmount with 50-watt 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Xeon, starting at $3,059.
  • System x3655 2U rackmount with 68-watt 1.8GHz dual-core AMD Opteron, starting at $2,589.

In part, IBM marketed the announcement in terms of reduced carbon emissions, saying that a business with 1,000 servers could save 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Analysts Joe Clabby, president of research firm Clabby Analytics, and Charles King, president of research firm Pund-IT Research, said that was cool and all, but what IT managers are looking at is how much money the new systems will save them.

"I think the curb in carbon savings is an interesting data point, but from a pragmatic standpoint, I think that data center owners are probably more concerned overall about power savings," King said.

Aside from just inserting reduced watt processors in the new systems, IBM said it has managed to further reduce power draw on the systems through detached storage and more efficient network switches.

Doug Balog, IBM vice president of BladeCenter, said its work with companies like Blade Network Technologies has allowed IBM to bring 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) switches inside the BladeCenter, which Balog claims results in 95% more energy efficiency than using external switches. He also said that the BladeCenter offerings can boot using a 4 GB flash drive and get the bulk of its storage through a SAN or NAS, further reducing the power draw from not having a spinning hard drive within the server.

Clabby said it' s a good feature. "The compactness (of blades) doesn't work in their favor because it concentrates the power," he said. "Power equals heat, heat equals cooling, and all of those equals expense. So you want to draw the minimal amount of power as you can."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer.

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