The US government wants all of us to go green. The US Capitol is going green . The US Postal Service has become a green player. Buildings are going green as owners scramble for federal subsidies. Of course the EPA is throwing tons of money at green. Why not go for it.
And IBM is into green in a big way. The System z, in fact, has been a centerpiece of IBM’s green initiatives. By virtualizing and consolidating hundreds of previously standalone physical Linux servers on the System z, a company can save serious money through reduced energy consumption as well as saving even more from reduced software licensing (which, admittedly isn’t green at all), especially if you have a Systems z in place already. So it indeed pays to go green.
OK, it saves money, but can going green also be transformative. At a recent meeting, IBM elaborated on ways green initiatives can be transformative, many of which are encompassed within the company’s Smarter Planet initiative, which one observer described as “arguably the world’s largest green marketing campaign.”
The Smarter Planet initiative should be good for IBM and not just because it will result in cleaner air in Armonk or generate sales of System z machines, which is not a given. Rather, if it delivers all that IBM promises, it will require a massive modernization of systems and result in a highly complex, highly connected, and, as a necessity, a highly automated environment that will require tons of software, professional services, and consulting now and probably forever, and that certainly is good for the company. Maybe that’s what IBM means by transformative?
IBM regularly launches grandiose initiatives. Remember System Application Architecture (SAA)? It provided a massive blueprint for tying together all of IBM disparate systems. As things turned out, it took the Internet, HTTP, and XML to do the job SAA was intended to do. Let’s see if IBM will be talking about Smarter Planet in five years.