Going Green at the U.S. Open

Last year, when more than 7.3 million unique users visited the USOpen.org Web site managed by IBM during the 2007 U.S. Open, server virtualization was a critical component behind the vendor's ability to scale computing capacity as needed, said Rick Singer, director of worldwide sponsorship marketing for IBM.

For the 2008 tournament, which kicked off Aug. 25, IBM has continued its server consolidation efforts on behalf of its client, the United States Tennis Association. But this time, "green IT" has taken center court.

Since 2006, IBM has consolidated from the 60 servers it once used to support scoring and other activities at the U.S. Open to just six IBM p6 550 servers for the 2008 tournament. By shifting to more energy-efficient machines and using Tivoli-based energy monitoring software, IBM has been able to handle a 20 percent increase in user traffic to the USOpen.org site since 2006, while reducing its cost per user by more than 27 percent over the same period, said John Kent, program manager of worldwide sponsorship marketing at IBM.

Over that same time frame, IBM has reduced its energy consumption and cooling demand in support of the U.S. Open by 23 percent and 25 percent, respectively, Kent added.

IBM's efforts on behalf of the tennis association reflect similar opportunities the company is seeing with its other IT services customers. For instance, a 25,000-square-foot data center, which consumes 100 watts of power per square foot at a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt, costs approximately $2.6 million to run each year, said Steven Sams, vice president of site and facilities services at IBM Global Technology Services. By using more energy-efficient technologies, such as IBM's water-cooled p6 550 servers, IT organizations can slash their data center energy costs by 40 percent to 50 percent, Sams said.

"Data centers are energy hogs," Sams said. "They typically consume 10 to 40 times as much energy as a typical office space. But if we can monitor energy consumption, then we can begin to manage it."

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