IBM Debuts New Category of Server for Web 2.0 Computing

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San Francisco — April 23
IBM introduced an entirely new category of server uniquely designed to address the technology needs of companies that use Web 2.0-style computing to operate massive data centers with tens of thousands of servers.

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. The energy 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 24×7.

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

  • More than doubles the number of systems that can run in a single IBM rack.
  • Uses 40 percent less power while increasing the amount of computing that can be done 5X.
  • Can be outfitted with a liquid cooled wall on the back of the system that enables it to run at room temperature with no air-conditioning required.
  • Uses all industry standard components as well as open source software such as Linux to help lower costs.

IBM iDataPlex is a new rack system featuring design innovations in cooling and efficiency that can help replace the inefficient “white box” servers commonly used by Internet companies. As consumers demand richer content and more immediate access to Web-based applications, iDataPlex can allow online gaming, social network, search and Internet companies to scale rapidly to meet this need. The system will further IBM's ability to meet the requirements of what WinterGreen Research calls a $10 billion market.

“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 such as 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.”

Commercializing Web 2.0-Style Computing
Taking a page from the Internet's model, iDataPlex is built for stateless computing that effectively turns many separate computers into a pool of shared resources or “cloud.”

“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 can provide a foundation that companies can build on to provide improved services to Web users around the world.”

iDataplex will be an important element in helping clients develop a new enterprise data center that offers dramatic improvements in IT efficiency and provides for rapid deployment of new IT services to support future business growth. IBM is helping clients move to new enterprise data centers by focusing on best practices around virtualization, green IT, service management and cloud computing.

New Delivery Model, Made to Order
Each iDataPlex system can be made to order and arrive to the client integrated and ready to run from the factory. This unique delivery model also helps to keep the cost of iDataPlex well below that of a comparable number of “white box” systems.

IBM will deliver the iDataPlex system to clients globally. Among early clients who have adopted or are actively considering iDataPlex are Web 2.0 companies and 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.

“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.”

Texas Tech University, a major research university, law school and graduate school with 28,200 students. “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.”

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, Calif., to test their applications in an IBM Cloud Center running on iDataPlex.

“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.”

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 will be available in the US and Canada in June and globally by the end of the year. iDataPlex is a custom built solution. 

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