IBM's latest Active Energy Manager product enables customers to cap power usage, prevent cost overruns and monitor energy usage by giving them a more complete view of energy used within the datacentre.

Currently IT managers have to rely on manufacturer energy usage and efficiency estimates in order to estimate, or rather guess, where and how much power is being used by devices in their datacentre. Active Energy Manager (AEM) gives them a window for the first time into actual power consumption.

It was first introduced in 2005 as PowerExecutive, and developed for IBM’s x86 System x hardware, It now supports additional IBM Systems (POWER) and IBM storage platforms. The company plans to extend support to its System z mainframes. Some hardware from other manufacturers is supported.

AEM extends the reach and scope of the technology previously provided by Power Executive, while gathering more information and presenting it in a simpler, more centralised way. AEM now exploits Intelligent Power Distribution Units (iPDUs) to support older servers and low- and mid-range storage devices. By plugging these systems into a supported iPDU or a smart power strip, AEM collects power information, thereby presenting a more complete view of energy used within the datacentre.

IT managers using AEM can see the actual power used by each IT resource in the datacentre. This allows them to better approximate and plan for technology and energy budgets over time.

Rich Lechner, IBM’s IT optimisation VP, said: "Active Energy Manager gives clients a way to understand exactly how much power is being used in their datacentres and where it is being consumed. Along with being able to cap the energy that powers these systems, this information can help save significant energy and cooling costs and create a greener datacentre environment.”

AEM also manages power usage across supported servers through functions such as Power Capping and Power Savings Mode. Power Capping lets users set a maximum power level per system while Power Savings Mode lets users manage power usage as work activity shifts across various demands. Using these functions, IT managers can increase their level of energy efficiency within datacentres potentially saving up to 30 percent of system power demand.

In addition, AEM includes power and thermal trending features to monitor and report system energy usage as well as inlet and exhaust air temperatures for individual systems. Incorporating this additional data into one, centralised software-based power usage offering allows finite and localised temperature adjustments within the IT shop to further reduce energy costs for cooling.

Active Energy Manager provides energy management data that will be used by Tivoli enterprise products. IBM claims that AEM delivers the industry’s only cross-platform ability to help customers monitor and manage both virtual and physical environments while controlling energy costs.

It will be available for download from 7 December. The iPDU capabilities, Power Trending and Thermal Trending are no-charge features of the AEM product and are available free. Prices for managing power usage start at an IBM list price of under $100 (£50 at ordinary conversion rates) per system and includes both Power Savings Mode and Power Capping.

There will be more information on Active Energy Manager at an IBM website, which goes live on 13 November.