It is encouraging to see a firm commit itself to a radical change in the way IT is delivered, says Rob Hailstone software infrastructure practice director with Butler Group, Europe's leading IT research and advisory organisation.
IBM announced on Thursday, 2 August, 2007, the latest project in its multi-year effort to consolidate its once-sprawling IT infrastructure into a more manageable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly IT service capability. IBM has named this latest initiative 'Project Big Green'.
It is an ambitious project to consolidate some 3,900 applications onto approximately 30 System z mainframes. Although this is a logical continuation of IBM's consolidation effort, one view of the catalyst for this particular project is the projection that IBM will need to double its computing power by 2010, but is challenged in terms of its floor space and energy consumption.
IBM has already made great advances in the consolidation of its IT infrastructure, many of these as a result of its decision to run its IT as a commercial service to the rest of the business. Over the last 10 years it has, for example, reduced its number of data centres from 155 to 7, and the number of corporate applications from 15,000 to 4,700.
This new phase of consolidation represents a very significant investment for IBM, but as well as providing a significant, long-term cost saving will enable IBM to build a team of very credible resources to pass on the experiences learned to its customer base.
IBM already has a team that provides consolidation support to its customers, and elements of that team will become part of Project Big Green. From the customer perspective, there is a big difference between "Do as we say" and "Do as we do", where the supplier is able to demonstrate its own commitment to consolidation and its own associated cost savings.
Altogether IBM aims to reallocate US$1 billion per year to accelerate its development of green technologies, creating a 1,000-strong 'green team' of specialists, and building a client roadmap based on its experiences.
Project Big Green represents an important part of this learning curve as well as delivering considerable in-house benefits. The green credentials of the project come from the anticipated 80% energy reduction and 85 per cent floor space savings through the planned consolidation.