IT Management

Last year, we introduced smarter computing as the key to improving efficiency, saving money, and doing more with less. But IBM does more than just advocate; we embarked on our smarter computing journey four years ago, saving millions while implementing and improving our offerings.

We’re transforming our internal Information Technology (IT) management using our technology to make IT run better, faster, and cheaper.

The numbers tell the story: We’ve saved $100 million to date, with a 70 percent average reduction in total cost of ownership; the workloads of more than 5,700 servers have been consolidated or migrated, reducing floor space by 47,000 square feet and saving energy in excess of 20,000 megawatt hours.

So, how did we do it? It comes down to the pillars of smarter computing: optimized systems that are tuned to the task, designed for data, and managed with cloud technologies.

Optimized systems. We implemented an optimized systems strategy that focused on selecting the best platform for each workload. Migrations to Linux on System z have driven major savings in total cost of operation (nearly 60 percent of the project’s total cumulative savings to date). The team is also achieving operational savings and reducing sprawl through flip virtualization (UNIX to UNIX) on POWER systems and consolidation to multi-core System x servers and blades. We’re also freeing up facilities for future workloads, removing the need to expand existing or build new data centers.

We’ve learned a lot to improve the way we do migrations for our clients and the value we can bring through those migrations. Specifically with zEnterprise, we’ve found these advantages:

  • More workloads for your money: The zEnterprise 196 delivers the world’s most efficient virtualization designed to support more than 13,000 virtual machines per server and more than 100,000 virtual machines in a cluster.
  • Reduced costs for software licenses: Clients can significantly reduce their software licensing fees if they migrate to Linux on System z vs. a distributed environment. When you virtualize multiple Intel servers onto another distributed server, you create multiple virtual images, each with its own Logical Partition (LPAR). Competitors often require a separate software license for each LPAR. Linux on System z, however, fits multiple virtual images within one LPAR (called the virtual machine) and only needs one software license.
  • Reduced labor costs: Having fewer servers means needing fewer people to maintain the servers. When clients choose to consolidate multiple servers to System z, they can reduce labor costs.

Designed for data. With 15 petabytes (PB) of data generated every day and storage requirements growing 20 to 40 percent each year, storage management is a major challenge for companies, including IBM.

We’re facing this smarter computing challenge with three tactics:

  • Reducing the volume of data to be stored using data compression and de-duplication
  • Storing more with what’s on the floor using thin-provisioning and virtualization to increase storage utilization
  • Moving data to the right place by shifting data from expensive tiers of storage to less expensive, long-term storage.

Managed with cloud technologies. Managing selected parts of our IT in the cloud is an important component in IBM’s road to smarter computing because of its added flexibility.

IBM has adopted cloud delivery models with System z, Power Systems, and System x deployed based on where they fit best. Adoption of cloud technology is shaped by workload affinity and characteristics. 

IBM’s private cloud, Blue Insight, uses System z technology and IBM Cognos analytics software to federate information from more than 100 different sources and provides analytics on more than a petabyte of data for more than 180,000 users. The environment is equipped with the mainframe’s strong cryptography, capable of handling up to 10,000 secure transactions per second, with redundant backup support.

We’ve learned a lot as we transform our data centers, and that learning is being applied to improve our clients’ IT environments. We continue to speed that transformation process with new technologies, such as zEnterprise and its hybrid capabilities, providing an on-ramp to smarter computing.