IBM’s Project Big Green Spurs Global Shift to Linux on Mainframe

Plan to shrink 3,900 computer servers to about 30 mainframes targets 80 percent energy reduction over five years/ Optimized environment to increase business flexibility
(PresseBox) (Stuttgart, ) In one of the most significant transformations of its worldwide data centers in a generation, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it will consolidate about 3,900 computer servers onto about 30 System z mainframes running the Linux operating system. The company anticipates that the new server environment will consume approximately 80 percent less energy than the current set up and expects significant savings over five years in energy, software and system support costs.

At the same time, the transformation will make IBM’s IT infrastructure more flexible to evolving business needs. The initiative is part of Project Big Green, a broad commitment that IBM announced in May to sharply reduce data center energy consumption for IBM and its clients.

IBM, with over 8,000,000 square feet of data center space (equivalent to 139 football fields), operates the world’s largest and most sophisticated data center operations, with major locations in New York, Connecticut, Colorado, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. The company anticipates that the new global infrastructure, supporting over 350,000 users, will serve as a powerful example of IBM’s ongoing transformation toward cutting-edge data center design for large enterprises around the world. Since 1997, IBM has consolidated its strategic worldwide data centers from 155 to seven.

“As one of the world’s largest technology providers, IBM consistently assesses how our systems can be maximized to support our employees and clients,” said Mark Hennessy, vice president and chief information officer, IBM. “A global account consolidation truly demonstrates that IBM is committed to driving stronger energy and technology optimization, and cost savings.”

“The mainframe is the single most powerful instrument to drive better economics and energy conservation at the data center today,” said James Stallings, general manager, IBM System z mainframe. “By moving globally onto the mainframe platform, IBM is creating a technology platform that saves energy while positioning our IT assets for flexibility and growth.”

IBM plans to recycle the 3,900 servers through IBM Global Asset Recovery Services.

Today’s news follows an impressive run for the IBM mainframe, which has posted five consecutive quarters of revenue growth and eight consecutive quarters of MIPs growth. In 2006, mainframe revenue outgrew platforms based on the Microsoft Windows operating system, according to IDC. The mainframe’s ability to run new workloads – including Linux and Java applications – is a big reason for its continued success.

How It Works

The consolidation project capitalizes on the ability of a single mainframe to behave as hundreds or thousands of individual servers. This capability, called virtualization – which IBM pioneered on the mainframe over 40 years ago – parcels out a mainframe’s system resources – including processing cycles, networking, storage and memory – to many “virtual” servers. Each virtual server functions as a real, physical machine. The migration will use only a portion of each mainframe, leaving substantial headroom for future growth.

By trading physical servers for virtual ones, IBM will be able to reduce costs along a broad front, including expenditures related to:

• Energy Consumption, in replacing 3,900 servers, each with its own power supply, with 30 mainframes, IBM is expected to save enough electricity to power a small town.

• Software, which often is priced on a per processor basis. IBM expects to help minimize software licensing charges as the new IBM mainframes contain significantly fewer processors than the current 3,900 servers.

• System support, the project is expected to free up IBM technical personnel from system administration tasks to work on higher-value projects, including designing and building customer solutions.

The IBM mainframe’s ability to run the Linux operating system is key to the consolidation project, providing an open foundation for a wide variety of applications.

IBM data centers in Poughkeepsie, New York; Southbury, Connecticut; Boulder, Colorado; Portsmouth, UK; Osaka, Japan; and Sydney, Australia, will participate in the initiative. IBM has established world-class teams to migrate, test and deploy the applications, which include: WebSphere® process, portal and application servers; SAP applications; and DB2®.

IBM’s consolidation expertise is available through IBM Global Technology Services. Clients interested in leveraging IBM’s success can log onto Specifically, more information about IBM Implementation Services for Linux server consolidation, which is designed to reduce costs and enhance reliability by providing clients with a Linux mainframe environment for consolidating dispersed applications and data, is available at

IBM System z9

The IBM System z9 mainframe is the world’s most sophisticated business server. Unique among servers, the 64-bit mainframe was designed from the beginning to incorporate processors that handle a variety of specialized tasks. For example, so-called “specialty processors” are designed for processing eligible Linux, Java and data workloads as well as encrypting and decrypting certain data.

Just as important, the mainframe’s Hipersockets technology provides fast communication among all the virtual servers contained in a single machine. By contrast, in a distributed environment, where many physical servers are connected by networking cables, lag time may be greater.

Other System z mainframe attributes – its leadership in security capabilities, for example -- are also vitally important to business applications. In the security certification known as the Common Criteria’s Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL), the IBM mainframe achieved one of the highest levels of certification – Level 5 – for logical partitioning, IBM’s premier virtualization technology.

And it is able to handle massive workloads. For example, the mainframe recently achieved the world’s largest core banking benchmark result delivering a record 9,445 business transactions per second (tps) in real-time based on more than 380 million accounts with three billion transaction histories (see IBM Press Release: “IBM and Financial Network Services Deliver World's Largest Core Banking Benchmark” on”)

IBM Global Asset Recovery Services

As part of the effort to protect the environment, IBM Global Asset Recovery Services, the refurbishment and recycling unit of IBM, will process and properly dispose of the 3,900 reclaimed systems. Newer units will be refurbished and resold through IBM’s sales force and partner network, while older systems will be harvested for parts or sold for scrap. Prior to disposition, the machines will be scrubbed of all sensitive data. Any unusable e-waste will be properly disposed following environmentally compliant processes perfected over 20 years of leading environmental skill and experience in the area of IT asset disposition.

Project Big Green

Project Big Green features energy efficient software, hardware and services from IBM and IBM Business Partners. (See IBM Press Release: “IBM Unveils Plan to Combat Data Center Energy Crisis; Allocates $1 Billion to Advance ‘Green’ Technology and Services” at

To access the IBM online press kit for additional announcement details, photos or video footage, log on to High quality images and footage are available at


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