Product energy efficiency

Product energy efficiency has long been one of IBM's environment and climate protection objectives. It was formalized as one of the company's corporate objectives when IBM's Product Stewardship program was established in 1991.

IBM's product energy efficiency goal is to continually improve the computing power delivered for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used with each new generation or model of a product. In 2013, new server products/models released for which there were previous generation products/models for comparison delivered 16 - 84 percent more computing power for each kWh of electricity used than the previous model/product.

IBM continues to utilize innovations in semiconductor, hard drive/storage system and networking technologies to improve server and storage system performance for each unit of power consumed by the equipment.

The following are examples of new IBM technologies, software and solutions that have enabled the increased energy efficiency of IBM's servers and storage products:

IBM Power SystemsTM

Power Systems provide enterprise-class server capabilities for traditional and cloud applications, offering superior utilization, security, virtualization, reliability, serviceability and data processing capabilities. Power Systems are optimized for the compute intensive performance demands of database and analytics applications. From an energy efficiency standpoint, Power Systems can deliver the most workload for unit energy consumed of any server when the system is configured to achieve maximum utilizations of 50-65 percent through workload virtualization and the use of EnergyScaleTM power management capabilities which matches energy use to the workload levels on the server. The recently announced POWER8TM builds on and strengthens these capabilities, delivering significant performance increases with minimal change in the power footprint of the server systems. An example of the benefits of a client's use of a Power Systems solution follows:

IBM PureSystems®

PureSystems combine automated systems management expertise and preloaded/ pre-tuned application software with open, scalable hardware systems that help maximize system utilization and reduce the total number of servers required in the data center. By eliminating lower utilization servers, PureSystems allows companies to consolidate their IT operations and enable continued application/user growth without significant hardware system additions. Increased utilization leads to a smaller real-estate requirement, lower energy costs and lower systems management costs.

IBM System x®

IBM announced new server solutions designed to expand cloud and analytics capabilities, helping to make Smarter Computing a reality for IBM System x x86 server clients. IBM's new portfolio of x86 computing solutions includes the following:

The energy use reduction benefit of IBM System x products is exemplified by an IBM System x3650 M4 server installation completed at a fast-growing U.S. retailer in 2013. IBM consolidated twenty x86 servers by virtualizing the workloads onto three x3650 M4 servers integrated with a V7000 storage solution, increasing the flexibility and resiliency and expandability of the system while significantly reducing energy use.


An IT appliance combines server, storage and network capabilities and optimizes them to execute a specialized task or group of tasks with a significantly smaller IT hardware and energy footprint than would be required if conventional systems were combined. IBM released a new server appliance, named MessageSight, designed to help organizations manage and communicate with the billions of mobile devices and sensors found in systems such as automobiles, traffic management systems, smart buildings and household appliances. The appliance can support up to one million machineto- machine (M2M) or smart and mobile devices in near real-time, handling up to 13 million messages per second. Previously, achieving connectivity at this level required up to 280 servers; the MessageSight appliance manages the same connectivity with a single 2U rack appliance reducing the energy use by two orders of magnitude while improving the efficiency of the data collection and access process. Furthermore, it enables management of the "Internet of Things" in ways that are likely to improve the efficiency and reduce the energy use of a whole range of activities and systems.

Storage systems

IBM continues to enhance our portfolio of storage systems, utilizing and improving various software-based data management capabilities such as Easy Tier, thin provisioning, data compression and deduplication, and storage virtualization which can reduce the storage hardware and energy footprint and the number of terabytes required to accomplish a given storage task.

In 2013, IBM introduced a range of flash-based storage systems. The FlashSystemTM 840 offers up to 12 flash cards in 2- and 4-terabyte sizes. Flash storage reduces energy use by 60 percent or more compared to disk drives and significantly improves server and storage performance by minimizing the latency associated with data transfer within the data center. The FlashSystem 840 was certified to ENERGY STAR® in July 2014.

In May 2014, IBM announced Elastic Storage, a software-defined storage technology which accelerates access to data storage both locally and globally and enables storage automation and virtualization in both traditional enterprise and cloud environments. Elastic Storage will enable the reduction of storage costs through data consolidation and the use of data placement technologies to optimize the use of available storage devices, including tape storage. The ultimate outcome is to maximize the amount of data stored on a minimum number of storage products, in turn minimizing the energy use and hardware deployment of the overall storage system.

High Performance Computers (HPC)

IBM offers a full range of purpose-built and "off-the-shelf" technical computing (supercomputer) solutions. IBM's supercomputer solutions are prevalent on both the TOP500® and Green500TM supercomputer lists. As of November 2013, 16 of the top 25 most energy efficient supercomputers in the world are built on IBM high-performance computing technologies; IBM Blue Gene®/Q and IBM iDataPlex® dx360 M4. IBM HPC systems also occupy 5 of the top 10 spots and 9 of the top 25 spots on the November 2013 TOP500 list of the world's top supercomputers. Technologies developed through IBM's HPC development efforts are leveraged across the entire IBM Systems and Technology Group product line to improve performance and energy efficiency.

The speed and expandability of IBM's HPC products have enabled business and the scientific community to address a wide range of complex problems and make more informed decisions in the life sciences, astronomy, climate, system simulations and modeling, and many other applications. The use of HPC systems also enables simulations of activities, such as crash testing, vehicle or airplane designs, and fuel burners, without the need to expend physical resources on prototypes or physical testing. IBM continues its leadership performance in a space-saving, power-efficient HPC package to address the most demanding performance applications.

As an example, IBM is partnering with the National Center for Atmospheric Research on a supercomputer named Yellowstone, which is being used to explore the nature of tornadoes, hurricanes, water shortages, solar patterns, and wind. The supercomputer is also working to study how wind turbines interact with the weather to get a detailed picture of when and why turbines turn, helping to develop predictive programs and siting algorithms to enhance the efficiency and utilization of wind farms.

IBM continues to utilize innovations in semiconductor, hard drive/storage system and networking technologies to improve server and storage system performance for each unit of power consumed by the equipment.

In addition to its ongoing program and objectives regarding energy efficient products, IBM has initiated and invested in innovations and integrated solutions involving its hardware, software and services business to address the energy efficiency of IT equipment and the data center.

For more detailed information, see the "Product Stewardship" section of our latest annual environmental report. You also can visit the ENERGY STAR certified products web page and Energy and environment website.