CIOs nowadays are facing a rather perplexing scenario; on one hand, computing
requirements of the company are shooting through the roof and on the other hand,
they need to also pinch the pennies by bringing down the ever-increasing
operating costs. This modern challenge is really testing the CIO mettle.
Of the many solutions, good ol mainframe could possibly be an answer. With
virtualization and consolidation being the key, mainframe could play an
important role in greening the data center, asserts Jim Stallings, general
manager (Enterprise Systems Division), IBM Systems & Technology Group, who looks
after the System Z line. In a tte–tte with Dataquest, he speaks about the
numerous challenges faced by enterprises and how they could be better managed.
How relevant is the Green issue when it comes to data centers?
My role allows me to hop across the globe talking to our enterprise
customers; the number one discussion these days is power, cooling, or energy
consumption. Reducing the demand for energy and greening the data center is a
part of that. CXOs are not much interested in the technology, but rather the
economics of it. They want to know how much money do they spend on energy.
Sometimes thats a difficult thing to figure out and once they find out, they
are completely stumped. What they are most surprised about is the rate of
growth, especially the future projections. These companies head honchos are
looking for ways to cut the ever-growing running costs and also have a better
ecological footprint. The big question becomes what can we do about it?
One solution is to use more energy efficient servers. What many of them have
concluded is that they have to re-look at the way a data center is designed and
run, where it is located, etc. There is a need for a new approach and I see that
happening. The green movement, so as to say, is not about technology, rather
How is System Z a part of that solution?
Gartner surveys show that over the past ten years, the number of servers
going into the data centers is up 800%, power and cooling cost is up 400%, and
system administrative cost is up 600%. So it isnt about acquiring the
technology, it is managing it, cooling it, and conditioning the environment.
This is where a mainframe scores, a System Z scores. There is a lot of
discussion around consolidationcan I get large servers to replace Mini 100s,
that will not only eliminate the cost of managing multiple servers but other
factors like cooling, floor space, etc?
The mainframe represents cornerstone virtualization and has massive
consolidation property. The current system (Z10) runs twice the speed of
predecessor, has 70% more capacity, and can take 1,500 x86 boxes and swallow
them down to one mainframe. So just think of the real estate and the floor
space. It uses 85% less energy than these 1,500 x86 boxes, so customers can get
an immediate benefit by going mainframe.
What are the biggest challenges faced in terms of greening the data
The CIO deals with this issue in multiple dimensions. First, there is the
technology, waves of new platforms or applications that CIOs have to choose
from. There are large pools of data. They need to embrace new innovation,
simplify environment, sharing applications, and create dynamic environment in
How has been the response so far from India?
Very encouraging. We are doubling our sales on an annual basis, and some of
the most respected Indian companies are our clients, like Satyam, HCL, TCS,