This week, IBM unveiled the Power7 processor which will show up in four server models set to start shipping within the next few weeks. Mind you, the release of a faster, more powerful and energy efficient chip isn’t earth-shattering news these days. What is interesting is IBM’s decision to position the 45 nanometer, virtualization-friendly processor as just the technology for the smart grid.
It’s a smart move, considering all the activity surrounding the smart grid these days. You see, most server vendors and chipmakers extol the number-crunching virtues of their tech, hoping to catch the attention of IT managers and execs that outfit the data centers that make Wall Street and other big businesses hum – firms that pay a premium for high-end (and high-margin) servers that can process the continual flow of data and broker millions upon millions of transactions.
You can add utilities to the list of firms that will soon require servers that can handle the torrent of data generated by smart meters. Feeble servers and batch processing just won’t cut it anymore. IBM feels that Power7 fits the bill as the processor to analyze and make short work of the enormous amounts of data generated by a smart electrical infrastructure. Here’s a snippet from the company’s press release:
A smart electrical grid requires per-the-minute data to deliver electricity where it is needed most, in real time, while helping customers monitor their energy consumption in real time to avoid or reduce usage during the most expensive peaks each day. A major U.S. utility moving to a smart grid pilot is moving from processing less than one million meter reads per day in a traditional grid, to more than 85 million reads per day in a smart grid. The utility needs to collect, analyze, and present all that information to its nearly five million customers in real time versus the overnight batch processing of a traditional electrical grid which delivers monthly billing statements.
That’s IBM’s reasoning for using its upcoming Power7 systems, but moreover, it’s telling of how the company is positioning itself as a tech provider for the IT-heavy aspects of the smart grid and opportunities therein (sub req’d).
Will it work? It certainly doesn’t hurt. (eMeter’s already smitten, FYI.) And for you tech vendors looking for a way to tap into a growing smart grid market, it’s wise to get the message out about how your wares can benefit the smart grid, particularly now while it’s still early.
Just don’t overdo it, OK?
Image Credit: IBM