IBM’s Blade 30% More Energy Efficient Than HP’s

IBM announced today that its BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less energy than HP BladeSystem. Based on internal IBM testing, IBM’s AMD Opteron-based BladeCenter (LS21) within the BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less energy than the comparable HP AMD Opteron-based BladeSystem (BL465c) in the HP c-Class system when both systems are idle, and up to 18 percent less energy when both systems are running at full load. IBM’s Intel Xeon-based BladeCenter (HS21) within the BladeCenter system uses up to 26 percent less energy than the comparable HP Intel Xeon-based BladeSystem (BL460c) in the HP c-Class system when both systems are idle, and up to 13 percent less energy when both systems are running at full load. Key IBM innovations that set the BladeCenter architecture apart include: a shared power infrastructure with up to 90 percent energy efficient power supplies able to reach peak efficiency even under small load; and IBM Calibrated Vector Cooling technology to allow dual paths of air to each component to improve uptime and longevity while also reducing wasteful air movement.

IBM announced today that its BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less
energy than HP BladeSystem. As energy prices rise to nearly 15 cents per
kilowatt hour in New York City, 21 cents per kilowatt hour in Tokyo and up to 23
cents per kilowatt hour in London, businesses can save hundreds, thousands or
even millions of dollars in energy costs each year depending on the size of
their datacenter.

Based on internal IBM testing, IBM’s AMD Opteron-based BladeCenter (LS21) within
the BladeCenter system uses up to 30 percent less energy than the comparable HP
AMD Opteron-based BladeSystem (BL465c) in the HP c-Class system when both
systems are idle, and up to 18 percent less energy when both systems are running
at full load.[1]

IBM’s Intel Xeon-based BladeCenter (HS21) within the BladeCenter system uses up
to 26 percent less energy than the comparable HP Intel Xeon-based BladeSystem
(BL460c) in the HP c-Class system when both systems are idle, and up to 13
percent less energy when both systems are running at full load.[2] Comparisons
are based on systems using the same dual-core Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron
microprocessors.

According to a 2006 report by the Robert Frances Group, across industry, the
average utilization of most processors in the data center is between 15-20
percent.[3] Therefore, managing a server at its least productive state becomes
critical to managing the issue of energy consumption in the datacenter.

Key IBM innovations that set the BladeCenter architecture apart include: a
shared power infrastructure with up to 90 percent energy efficient power
supplies able to reach peak efficiency even under small load; and IBM Calibrated
Vector Cooling technology to allow dual paths of air to each component to
improve uptime and longevity while also reducing wasteful air movement.

IBM’s energy-smart BladeCenter design, pioneered by IBM Research, features
energy efficient power supplies (which are up to 90 percent efficient) saving as
much as 28 percent in electrical usage over many commonly available power
supplies (which are often only 60 to 70 percent efficient). IBM’s shared cooling
approach that utilizes high-efficiency blowers, can consume up to 60 percent
less power than the newest design in the HP c-Class, based on internal IBM
testing. These smarter power and cooling architectures, combined with smart use
of energy efficient components, such as low voltage processors, allow IBM users
to extract the most performance from every kilowatt.

"This is a big competitive advantage in a product segment where energy
efficiency is perhaps the chief consideration," said Doug Balog, vice president
and business line executive, IBM BladeCenter. "In an environment where the cost
of operating a system is approaching the cost of acquiring the hardware, HP has
delivered a new system that is much less efficient in its use of power."

Unlike the blade servers available for HP’s c-Class chassis, which are not
backward compatible with HP’s older blade chassis, IBM’s high-density modular
blade server is designed to support the entire family of BladeCenter chassis. HP
is on its third system redesign in five years[4], while IBM BladeCenter is still
based on its original design and demonstrates better efficiency.

The Price of Power

IBM also introduced today the second generation of PowerExecutive, an
industry-first energy management technology, now enabling clients to cap the
amount of power used by a single server or groups of servers to optimize energy
use and application performance. PowerExecutive, an extension to IBM Director
systems management software, allows clients to "meter" actual power usage and
trend data for any single physical system or group of systems.

Today, the label rating on the back of a server is the only guide that IT
managers have when planning for power and cooling capacity for their datacenter.
IT managers are often forced to resort to an 80 percent rule to safely estimate
power consumption based on the label rating, which means they may over budget
energy requirements.

IBM PowerExecutive allows these IT managers to see the difference between their
power budget and actual power usage, enabling them to optimize power consumption
and stretch their budgets over time. Putting a cap on the systems power use,
based on the workload and business trends over time, allows IT managers to
safely limit the amount of energy draw from the server, without sacrificing
performance or productivity, or adding servers to the existing infrastructure.

"Better systems and information leads to better decisions aimed at maximizing
business performance. Whether delivering superior design innovation or tools to
more accurately plan, monitor, and control power consumption to meet business
expectations, IBM helps clients dramatically improve power utilization and
reduce energy costs for a significant competitive advantage," said Balog.

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