Feb 07 2012

The IBM iDataPlex Line Is Lean and Green

IT departments can save 17 to 24 percent on power with IBM iDataPlex servers.

Today’s budget-strapped IT departments look to save money at every turn.

The iDataPlex line of servers and racking system from IBM is one way IT shops can accom­plish their lean and green goals. The units measure 2 feet by 2 feet, as ­opposed to a traditional server, which is typically 2 feet by 4 feet. This shorter depth lets IT managers pack more servers into a rack, adding density that helps data centers more easily reach their full capacity.

The other benefit of the shorter depth is that air needs to travel only 18 inches from front to back, rather than the 30-plus inches in a typical enterprise server. This reduces needed cooling, which allows IT managers to set the data center’s temperature at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to 55 to 65 degrees. Couple this with the iDataPlex’s energy-efficient design, which integrates four fans into the chassis, and IBM says IT shops stand to save thousands of dollars on their annual electric bills.

Matthew Ziegler, a senior high-performance computing architect at IBM, says the company estimates that IT departments can save 17 to 24 percent on power compared with traditional 1U rack-mounted servers.

Moving forward, Ziegler says the next generation of iDataPlex servers set for release this spring will feature water cooling. “Water removes heat more efficiently,” he says. “It’s the same principle as a radiator in a car. We’re slowly weaning off the fans.”

By the Numbers


The highest and most efficient voltage for operating IT equipment in the data center

SOURCE: “High-Efficiency AC Power Distribution for Data Centers” (APC-Schneider Electric, 2011)


The increased data center power and cooling efficiency gained by using a direct AC-to-rack approach

SOURCE:  “Hype Cycle for Data Center Power and Cooling Technologies” (Gartner, 2011) 


The percentage of data center professionals who say UPS battery failure is the leading cause of downtime

SOURCE: “Addressing the Leading Root Causes of Downtime” (Emerson Network Power, 2010)


The average dollar amount that organizations save per user, per year by using blades to reduce power and cooling costs and avoid facilities expansion 

SOURCE: “Business Value of Blade” (IDC, April 2011)


The number of degrees Fahrenheit that air temperatures can be lowered by using evaporative cooling in a dry geographic location

SOURCE: “Economizer Modes of Data Center Cooling Systems” (APC-Schneider Electric, 2011)

More On