Donated IBM Computer Servers to Cut Kilowatts
BladeCenter is Greener and Leaner Than Current Technology at UT Dallas
July 22, 2008
IBM’s gift of a slender box of slide-in servers is set to give information technology (IT) professionals at UT Dallas more square footage and a break on their A/C cooling bills.
Pushing walls around and revamping power systems isn’t easy or gentle on a budget’s bottom line, and David Holmes, the director of UT Dallas’ Architecture & Infrastructure Services, said the new BladeCenter H will really help ease his department’s cramped quarters.
More important, replacing older, bulkier servers allows expansion space for newer technologies.
“UT Dallas has been operating on a very lean capital expansion plan for IT infrastructure,” said Dr. Jim Gary, UT Dallas vice president and chief information officer of Information Resources. “The acquisition of the IBM BladeCenter will allow us to act on key initiatives, like ‘greening’ our datacenter via expansion into virtualization, establishing a rapid-provisioning capability to respond to our customers’ needs for new computing environments, and offering facilities for accelerating our infrastructure training in these technologies.”
Holmes said the new BladeCenter will replace 50 to 75 percent of the existing devices that consume floor space in his department.
“Also, these servers use a lot less power, which will help take some of the load off of our power system,” Holmes said. “They run cooler, too, which means we can consume less power for electricity. In a sense, these servers are helping us go green.”
The new BladeCenter H is expected to arrive by August .
“IBM expects that BladeCenter will support UT Dallas’ goal to grow the University while maximizing the dollars of its students and contributors,” said Alex Yost, vice president, IBM BladeCenter. “The industry leading energy efficiency, density and ease of use BladeCenter delivers is just what the University needs to meet its environmental and IT goals while better serving the community.”
Installation and other services are being donated by IBM Premier Business Partner Sirius Computer Solutions, a firm that works closely with IBM to provide services and systems to organizations of all sizes and industry.
“Our ability to partner with IBM to provide, integrate and implement the new BladeCenter is a direct result of the relationship that Sirius has with UT Dallas,” said Muditha Karunitelika, executive vice president of sales at Sirius. “The solutions we provide to UT Dallas span across multiple IBM brands including System z, System p and Storage Systems. Our goal is to understand their Challenges in IT, and help solve those challenges with the right technology solution. The initial BladeCenter will provide a foundation that enables UT Dallas to consolidate workloads from other Intel and UNIX servers to BladeCenter, saving space, energy and money while increasing service to the school.”
Holmes said the value of the donation goes beyond just the cost of the technology and its installation.
“The gift means a lot in terms of giving us a fast, lean and green technology, but it’s also a chance for UT Dallas to partner with technology leaders IBM and Sirius,” Holmes said. “This is the first significant partnership arrangement involving the central IT unit that UT Dallas has had with a large technology vendor while I’ve been here—and that’s since 1992.”
A tour though the nerve center network at UT Dallas reveals cool air, blowing fans, plenty of white noise and a lot of square footage just waiting to be freed up. While older server racks are about the size of a four-drawer filing cabinet, the BladeCenter H is pocket-sized by comparison. Measuring about the size of a college dorm fridge, the BladeCenter H actually houses 14 slide-in servers or blades that all run off of a single power supply and fan system. The BladeCenter also helps tame the tangle of wires usually snaking out of most server racks—85 percent of wires and cables disappear altogether.
“Most students and faculty will probably not notice much right away, once we install the BladeCenter,” Holmes said. “But that’s kind of the point. We want this smaller, faster, greener technology in place for years to come while we maintain our high level of service and reliability. That’s our most important job.”