The IBM LinuxOne Driving Sustainability Within Digital Transformation


Sustainability has been a topic we have heard about for a considerable time. The idea of reducing a company’s carbon footprint has been a part of many ESG conversations and carbon-neutral plans. While companies have the right intentions, executing these plans on a complete digital stack is more complicated. 

Moor Insights & Strategy has written a research paper on the challenges enterprise organizations face in transforming business operations while reducing carbon footprint, security, vulnerabilities and ultimately costs which you can read here.

IBM recently announced the IBM LinuxONE 4 with a focus on sustainability. I believe the IBM LinuxONE Emperor 4 could help companies achieve sustainability and business operations goals.

Digital transformation in the wake of sustainability

The digital landscape is transforming business organizations, revolves around a hybrid model. This hybrid model allows businesses to use hybrid cloud infrastructure that fits custom and necessary workloads. Business organizations must be secure, scalable, and efficient while being sustainable. 

Sustainability measures are critical today. The challenge of including sustainability within an organization’s digital transformation journey is higher up on the list for thought leadership. In a study by IBM, 51% of CIOs and CTOs surveyed said that the most significant challenge keeping them up at night was sustainability, up 32% from the last year. While organizations and thought leadership have the right intentions for sustainability, the execution and planning within other seemingly counter-variable challenges pose the difficulty.

Server consolidation without compromise

The IBM LinuxONE Emperor 4 infrastructure allows businesses to be scalable and sustainable. IBM says it can consolidate 55 x86 servers into one LinuxONE and achieve 75% less energy consumption. While energy consumption is not the only metric for sustainability, I believe consolidation leans heavily into the sustainability narrative.

The LinuxONE Emperor 4 also builds on the improvements of the z16, which you can read my coverage here. The Emperor 4 has increased performance with the new IBM Telum processor. The Telum processor has improved performance, a larger cache and fresh design, and an integrated accelerator for real-time embedded AI. 

Much of the LinuxONE Emperor 4’s performance and sustainability gains are due to the Telum Processor. The Telum processor will handle high utilization workloads, and its embedded AI acceleration is a game changer, especially for real-time workloads. IBM says the LinuxONE Emperor 4 will run at the highest utilization level for maximum efficiency. It uses similar components to the z16, such as the Telum processor but with different software. It can meet modern workloads with AI acceleration like encryption acceleration, data compression, and AI inferencing faster than systems without embedded AI. This time difference allows workloads to complete faster and more efficiently. 

Gaining lower TCO with added sustainability

The most significant contributor to a lower TCO for the LinuxONE Emperor 4 compared to an x86 system is lower energy consumption and fewer cores needed per workload. According to internal testing, IBM reported that a single LinuxONE Emperor 4 could scale to a workload of about 2000 typical x86 cores. The less energy consumed and fewer cores, the less space the LinuxONE Emperor 4 takes up, and the lower the cost. Not only does the system itself take up less room, but proportionately less cooling is required, taking up less energy and driving down cost. 

I believe the IBM LinuxONE is capable of impressive consolidation while achieving a lower TCO. One example that IBM gave of how the LinuxONE Emperor 4 achieves sustainability is with Citi. Citi partnered with MongoDB and IBM to migrate MongoDB instances to IBM LinuxONE. Citi said its performance increased by 15%, enhanced its security capabilities, and helped drive toward its net-zero carbon emissions goals. I was impressed with how IBM set up a TCO calculator that allows companies to input existing infrastructure to see gains from switching to LinuxONE Emperor 4. 

Wrapping up

While I only scratched the surface of the LinuxONE Emperor 4 and its sustainability, Moor Insights & Strategy has a deep dive research paper on how it achieves sustainability, security, and scalability. 

It is challenging to meet sustainability goals while reducing the TCO and increasing performance, security, and scalability. I believe the LinuxONE Emperor 4 is capable of meeting sustainability goals within the digital transformation operation of an organization. Its Telum processor accelerates modern workloads and allows workloads to utilize the LinuxONE Emperor 4 system fully. I highly recommend reading Moor Insights & Strategy paper on the LinuxONE Emperor 4 if you are considering a system with a lower TCO that drives sustainability goals.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.