Sunday, August 3, 2008

IBM is Building $400 Million Data Centers for the Cloud

According to GridToday, IBM is spending $400 million on two new cloud data center in Tokyo and North Carolina. The big news from this is that IBM is shooting for a very green data center.

In North Carolina, they are renovating an existing building and reusing 90% of the existing components. They plan on the center being 50% more energy efficient than the industry average. The site will originally be 60,000 square feet of raised flooring and will modularly expandable. The center will be open sometime in 2009. IBM received $750,000 in local and state economic incentives for building the center.

The Tokyo center will be a customer facing center that will help companies and universities use and implement cloud computing. This is IBM's ninth cloud computing center worldwide. Japan is a very mature and complex technology corridor. Due somewhat to the maturity, the systems may be old and inflexible. IBM will be helping Japanese companies adapt to cloud computing.

"To develop high skilled human resources in IT field, it is necessary to create latest IT environment in education place," said Hiroto Yasuura, Dean of Graduate School of Information Science and Electrical Engineering, Kyushu University. "Kyushu University is very interested in cloud computing technology, which can provide an on-demand IT environment to our students and teachers. We have been working with IBM, the pioneer of this field. Kyushu University will continue to take advantage of cloud computing technology more actively."

IBM, rather than being a cloud provider, is looking to be the cloud consultant. I imagine they will also eventually release a private cloud with their own software.

On the green front, IBM is investing $1 billion in R&D efforts to increase the efficiency of data centers. IBM has several huge data centers world wide. I've used the Dallas center, remotely, to prototype a large BI system I developed several years ago. At their center, I had access to a 32 CPU P595 with 512GB of RAM and an EMC san. That was just one of the many systems available for customer prototypes.

The center will partially be powered by alternative power sources (although IBM hasn't yet said what kind). The center will use virtualization as much as possible which will further save power. In the winter months, the center will use a free cooling system to allow the center to cool itself naturally. Very cool.

This is just another sign of the growing maturity of cloud computing. I'm glad IBM is investing so heavily in the cloud.

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