IBM Sees Green IT Pastures in Emerging Markets

IBM announces three new green data center deals in emerging markets, which officials say are adopting energy-efficient IT solutions more quickly than their more developed counterparts. IBM says about half of its green data center revenue is coming in from outside the United States. Driving the demand is the high cost of power and the limited access in many of these regions, as well as their tendency to embrace new technologies.

IBM recently inked three large-scale deals to help companies overseas design and build energy-efficient data centers, the latest examples of the hunger for green IT in emerging markets.

IBM Nov. 5 announced a $5.4 million deal with Cosan, a sugar-energy group based in Sao Paulo, to redesign its IT infrastructure, and another deal with Slovak Telekom to build a new data center in Bratislava, Slovakia. In addition, IBM signed an IT services deal with the Haryana-based Indian subsidiary of confectionary company Perfetti Van Melle to design, build and manage a green data center.

The deals reflect the demand IBM officials are seeing in such emerging markets as South America, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia and the Middle East for IT solutions that will improve business while keeping energy costs low, according to Steve Sams, vice president of IBM's Global Site and Facilities Services business.

"It's a demonstration that the economy is not holding back on major investments in green technology in these emerging markets," Sams said in an interview.

IBM officials say such regions are adopting green IT more quickly than more developed markets, such as the United States and Europe, and that half of IBM's green data center revenue over the past two months came from outside the U.S. market.

There are a number of reasons, Sams said, including that many of these fast-growing markets do not follow the traditional IT path. He pointed to India as an example, noting that as growth in the region took off, the market essentially skipped the traditional wired IT infrastructure and headed directly to wireless.

Similarly, many of these markets are skipping right to green technologies, Sams said.

Other issues also come into play, including the high cost of energy in many of these areas and the limited access to power, he said.

For Cosan, IBM will design a data center that will consolidate workloads onto two Power System 570 servers armed with virtualization technology and optimization resources. The new facility will replace a distributed server infrastructure.

In Slovakia, IBM will build a 1,200-square-foot, five-floor data center that during cold months will use outside air to help cool the facility and will have systems grouped according to heat emissions to optimize cooling capacity. The data center is expected to go online in 2011.

For Perfetti Van Melle India, IBM will design, build and manage a 1,000-square-foot green data center.