Drive green strategies with energy-savvy solutions
Going green is no longer just an option; increasingly, it's a mandate.
Today, energy efficiency strategies can deliver far more than just a smaller carbon footprint—far more, even, than a smaller electricity bill. They can, in a broader and more powerful sense, help organizations achieve superior command over their resources—utilizing those resources in a smarter way, for a better outcome, in many different contexts.
One great illustration of this principle stems from considering buildings as assets. Just like an IT server or an application, a building should be—and can be—optimized in such a way as to generate the intended value while also consuming less power. And when this happens, the benefits that emerge are diverse and compelling. In addition to reduced energy and operating costs, for instance, buildings become safer and more secure places for workers.
These benefits also extend into other domains. Because energy costs are more tightly controlled, for instance, they are also easier to predict. This information makes forecasting and budgeting more accurate, and gives organizations more confidence in how they allocate revenues to deal with anticipated future needs. It also makes them more competitive. Every dollar that isn't spent on energy, and is instead spent on creating innovative products or services to pair with emerging customer demand, is a dollar that delivers higher business value for the organization—a better investment.
All of these ideas apply especially well to the special case of data centers—the heart of IT operations and the primary service delivery platform for many organizations. Getting best business value from the data center will often require getting more accurate insight into how, when, and why energy is consumed, and then developing strategies to ensure that that consumption is as optimized as possible.
Achieving this goal, however, will often demand new solutions capable of aggregating energy information from different sources, analyzing it in different ways, and comparing the results against policies or objectives—thus, in essence, providing the actionable intelligence to drive energy management strategies and improve them over time.
Get smarter, more energy-efficient buildings and data centers through Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization
IBM Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization is just such a solution. It's also a powerful element of IBM's larger smarter buildings initiative , which acknowledges this central truth: building design and management is a critical element of overall energy efficiency, yet it's typically not implemented nearly as effectively as it could be.
Consider these daunting statistics, for instance, drawn from a recent IBM survey:
If that weren't enough, in the special case of data centers an arguably even more problematic situation applies.
Most of today's data centers were constructed without current energy requirements in mind; they are, in many cases, at a tipping point, where the power provided will soon be less than the power needed. The potential business consequences could range from the inconvenient (temporary outages of minor internal services) to the serious (sustained downtime of revenue-generating external services, leading to a permanent impact on brand strength and competitive positioning).
The bottom line is clear. Building energy management in the U.S. is a tremendous issue-but also a tremendous opportunity for improvement.
Turn raw asset data into real-time environmental maps
Fortunately, Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization can play a key role in that improvement. By serving as part of an overall energy management strategy, it can help ensure that organizations have the information and analytics they need to drive down energy costs, drive up asset ROI and reliability, and increase overall service levels and resilience—in short, get a smarter business outcome through smarter buildings.
The solution obtains raw energy data such as power usage, temperature, carbon dioxide emissions, humidity, and airflow from sensors covering a wide variety of building assets. Once the information has been obtained, it's analyzed to create color-coded environment maps that identify areas of concern in a given building. And subsequently, the maps are updated on a near real-time basis to reflect how the environmental conditions are changing.
This is particularly useful in the context of data centers, where thousands of assets are typically running—each drawing power and each generating heat. Because the thermal map shows exactly which systems are in danger of overheating, managers also understand which services are in danger of downtime, and they can take action to prevent that from occurring.
Higher service uptime delivers a double win. For the organization's workers, it translates into more productivity using internal IT services. And for external users, it means a better customer experience because services are more continually available (and a better business bottom line generated as a result).
The solution can be used to pursue energy management strategies entirely outside the data center as well. Possible applications include illustrating the power being used in different parts of a manufacturing production line, keeping the humidity at optimal levels to prevent equipment corrosion, adjusting temperatures based on zones of building occupancy—even monitoring the temperature of dog kennels to ensure that dogs don't overheat.
And beyond heat maps, the solution can also create maps of completely different kinds, such as carbon dioxide emission maps, humidity maps, and airflow maps. Just as with heat maps, these maps serve as real-time information streams that can play a part in helping organizations understand how conditions can change dynamically, increase service levels and uptime, and minimize business risks of many kinds.
A suite of compelling business benefits
Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization delivers many other benefits as well. Consider, for instance, the issue of asset duration. Because it helps alert managers proactively of emerging problems, as determined by environmental profiles exceeding predefined thresholds, assets can more easily be maintained as required. This translates into a longer asset lifecycle, and deferred capital investment for new assets. Each asset monitored in this way will deliver more ROI—and for data centers, that means thousands of assets of many different classes.
More abstractly, the solution also provides a way to link energy data to traditional asset management, to the benefit of both domains. The information and analytics obtained become part of a centralized repository of information which is available to other Maximo solutions as well as to other IBM Tivoli service management offerings generally. Because that information can be used by other professionals for other purposes and in other contexts, its value is multiplied. Finance professionals responsible for creating and overseeing asset replacement schedules, for example, will be better informed, and service requests can be opened directly to deal with data center assets that have failed.
Perhaps most importantly, leveraging the solution is a great way for organizations to make their buildings smarter because it helps them monitor and manage energy usage and reduce energy costs.
How much? While results will vary from deployment to deployment, IBM's history of customer engagements suggests a typical savings of 15%-30% in operational energy costs. This is an impressively high figure for a single IT solution, and one sure to appeal to organizations in a dollar-conscious economy like the current one.
IBM’s own experience at its Poughkeepsie Green Data Center suggests even more remarkable results are possible. At that site, the solution helped IBM to track and manage heat so effectively, building managers could double the amount of processing power without increasing square footage—a smarter building by any definition.