How to run a global computing business with 99% fewer computers

Wow … we know ongoing advances in IT technology are making it possible for companies to do more computing with fewer servers, but going from 3,900 servers to 30? That’s a pretty impressive efficiency gain.

IBM says its 3,900-to-30 server consolidation will not only save on software and system support costs, but will cut energy use by a whopping 80 percent.

The consolidation is being launched as part of IBM’s billion-dollar “Project Big Green” effort to cut data center energy consumption not just within the company, but for IBM clients as well.

The company’s already pared down its IT footprint considerably, cutting its number of strategic worldwide data centers from 155 to seven since 1997. But with more than eight million square feet of data center space (that’s as large as 139 football fields put together) remaining under the IBM umbrella and 350,000 users, there’s still room for further efficiencies.

The new consolidation effort will rely on some 30 System z mainframe computers running the Linux operating system. Using virtualization, each mainframe can function as many hundreds or thousands of servers while also offering additional capacity for growth. The transition, IBM says, will save enough electricity to “power a small town.”

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