IBM has announced what it is calling the Big Green Linux initiative in order to spark further interest in getting Linux firmly integrated into the enterprise, this time by going on the cost reduction and energy consumption attack.

This follows up from the Project Big Green commitment announced by IBM back in May, with its aim to sharply reduce data centre energy consumption for IBM and its clients. IBM has announced that it plans to consolidate approximately 3,900 of its own computer servers on to about 30 System z mainframes running the Linux operating system. IBM anticipates that the new server environment will consume approximately 80 percent less energy than the current set up, resulting in significant savings over five years in energy, software and system support costs. With more than 8,000,000 square feet of data-centre space for its employees and commercial workloads for clients, the overall impact is not to be undervalued.

Big Green has got support from Novell already. "With every release of our SUSE Linux Enterprise platform, Novell finds new ways to help customers reduce power consumption through improvements in policy-driven power management and system monitors for servers, along with better suspend functionality for laptops" Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions for Novell told DaniWeb. "We look forward to collaborating with IBM on ways we can improve integration between hardware and software to save customers both energy and money."

IBM looks determined to differentiate its offerings by playing the energy saving card, with new Linux-driven products coming to the market. Products such as the Information Server Blade running Linux. The new system simplifies large data integration projects providing an enterprise-wide view of information, resulting in better business insight and real-time access to trusted information. This promises a pre-tested and optimised solution including hardware, software and services to help simplify large data integration projects and making IBM's information integration platform quicker to deploy.

Furthermore, the number of Linux on POWER applications continues to expand, and currently there are nearly 3,000 applications running natively on Linux on POWER-based System p servers. System p Application Virtual Environment (System p AVE) will allow most x86 Linux binaries to run unmodified as well. This offering helps to expand the x86 workloads that can be moved to a System p server, increasing the savings customers can achieve by consolidating x86 server footprints onto System p platforms.

And it doesn't stop there either. IBM's Linux Technology Centre has also been involved in contributing a number of recent features to the Linux kernel for scaling CPU clock speed and voltage and keeping idle CPUs in a 'tickless,' low-power state longer; all of which make Linux more power efficient in datacentres.

"At the Linux Foundation, we've realized that while there have been many recent advances in Linux power management, there are still new, untapped ways to make Linux more green" Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation told us "our Green Linux initiative will leverage the power of our members, including IBM, to enhance these improvements. We expect Linux to be a leader in this area, and for Linux customers, and the environment, to realize the gains brought about by our members' efforts. We applaud IBM for continuing to focus their efforts in this important area."