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IBM's Power Play

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is looking to feed off users concerns about the spiraling cost of data center power with today's launch its new Power processors. (See IBM Launches Power5+.)

Power and cooling concerns have had IT managers fretting, a situation exacerbated by recent hikes in oil and gas prices. (See Vegas Blade Warning and Equinix Nabs New LA Data Center.)

IBM is attempting to address these issues by slashing the size of the die, or semiconductor, used on the new Power5+ chip, by 37 percent, compared to the previous version of the technology. The idea is that the smaller the processor, the less power it consumes.

This is a big deal for users, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT Research. “Here in California the local power company told us that we should be prepared for a 70 percent increase in our power costs this winter,” he says. “If you look at a data center that is using $200,000 of power a year, then a 70 percent increase is a big pain point.”

IBM is also targeting the new processors at high-performance computing. Once the preserve of academics and shadowy government research labs, supercomputers are creeping into the corporate data center. (See Invasion of the Coneheads.)

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