The basic idea is to determine how much energy the server and its individual components (such as power supply and memory) consume, and then determine how much of those resources each virtual machine uses. He said the feature would be available in future hardware and software releases but set no timetable.
The new energy monitoring feature would only be available on IBM hardware running VMware. VMware CEO Paul Maritz is expected to talk about the feature during the opening keynote on Tuesday at VMworld 2009 in San Francisco, said Alex Yost, vice president for IBM's x86 server platform.
Yost said that if users can start understanding "power consumption at a very granular level," they will be able to see which virtual machines -- and therefore which applications -- are the most power-hungry.
IBM upgrades iDataPlex
Big Blue also announced upgrades to its iDataPlex server platform, a by-the-rack product that fits 84 servers in 42U of space. The upgrades include running on Intel's Xeon 5500 processors, nicknamed "Nehalem"; doubling the memory capacity to 128GB per server; and support for VMware vSphere.
IBM initially released iDataPlex in April 2008, pushing it to Web 2.0 companies. Yost wouldn't disclose sales figures for the product, but he did offer up a user, switch provider Voltaire,
"We don't know yet what specific applications will be running," Guay said. "So one of the benefits of having the memory headroom is to have that flexibility."