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The IBM RTP Green Solutions Center: A quick tour with Steven Rael

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IMG_3904Recently, I presented to some clients at the IBM Research Triangle Park (RTP) facility. I decided to take a tour of the green data center technology on display here. This is the technology that makes cloud computing possible and practical.

Steven Rael, a subject matter expert (SME) at the IBM RTP Executive Briefing Center, gave me a quick tour.

Steven, what are we looking at here?

Rael: This row of equipment is an example of the IBM Scalable Modular Data Center (SMDC), featuring APC racks by Schneider Electric. The SMDC is a turn-key solution for 500 to 2,500 square feet of data center floor space that can be implemented in just eight to twelve weeks.

The IBM Green Solutions Center highlights IBM rack-optimized and rack-dense IBM System x, IBM PureSystems family, IBM BladeCenter and IBM System x iDataPlex x86-based servers and IBM System Storage solutions.

APC racks? Doesn’t IBM offer racks itself?

Rael: IBM does, but we wanted to show off our “Big Green” ecosystem of partners. Here at the Green Solutions Center, IBM has partnered with APC, Eaton, Panduit and Emerson.

The electric patch panel is integrated into the SMDC, making it easy to grow your environment.

What is this half-width rack between the standard-size racks?

Rael: The Green Solution Center demonstrates innovative rack and room-level cooling technologies. This unit uses chilled water to cool the air coming out the back of each rack and pumps out cooled air to the front of the racks.

IMG_3906But you are just pumping the cooled air into the room itself. How does that get back to the servers to cool them off?

Rael: Let me show you. Here is my business card. I throw it in the air, and voila! The business card sticks to the server. IBM servers have fans in the front to optimize the cooling effort. This shows how well the air flow works to feed the IT equipment

How are these half-rack air cooling units capturing the hot air from the back of the racks?

Rael: For that we need to look at the back of the SMDC. Here we are doing hot-aisle containment, thus capturing the back-of-rack exhaust and exchanging the heat to water resulting in efficient rack cooling.

What kind of management software is being used here?

Rael: We have IBM Tivoli services management integration and IBM Systems Director  Active Energy Manager (AEM).

That’s awesome! Thanks for taking me on this tour. Any final thoughts?

Rael: The IBM SMDC is an excellent solution for clients seeking increased efficiency with the ability to handle more IT density. It can can save our clients up to 20 percent in lower costs, is up to 30 percent more energy efficient and can help improve availability and scalability.


If you are ever in the Raleigh NC area, consider stopping by Building 002 at the IBM RTP Facility and ask for a tour of the Green Solutions Center at the IBM Executive Briefing Center!

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