Once the detailed mapping was complete, IBM was able to create a base model of the datacenter, then develop and implement improvements, such as improving airflow management, reducing chilled air leakage, matching cooling capacities to IT power consumption, and implementing a system to separate exhaust air and inlet temperatures within the datacenter.
Through it all, Toyota was able to cut AC usage by 30 percent. The company's energy provider, Southern California Edison, quantified the company's energy savings and determined a demand reduction of more than 10 percent.
"[MMT] is clearly very good with virtualization and other longer-term technology projects that often require more investment," said Hamman. "This technology is focused on taking account of existing operations and seeing if you're using them efficiently. Looking at it in terms of how much you need to invest and what your return is, it's obviously quite attractive."
Cathy Tryon, national manager of datacenter operations for Toyota Motor Sales, echoed the sentiment: "In a very short period of time, MMT showed us where to begin making inexpensive changes to airflow and temperature set points in our computer room," Tryon said. "This allowed us to safely shut down two computer room air conditioners, resulting in significant energy and cost savings."
As part of the project, IBM also piloted an extension of MMT that includes real-time sensors distributed in strategic places throughout the datacenter. The technology enables constant monitoring of temperature distributions. According to Hamman, however, starting with the detailed base model of the entire datacenter is essential to making the less-detailed real-time data delivered by the sensors more useful.
IBM isn't the only organization offering technology and services to help customers get a handle on cooling costs. A three-year-old company called AdaptivCool is also claiming success with its own IT-oriented approach to maximizing cooling efficiency. The company recently announced that an unnamed "large Manhattan bank" has deployed AdaptivCool's Room Scale Intelligent Cooling (RSIC) system. In doing so, the company is projected to cut energy consumption by 200,000 kilowatt hours in the first year. Moreover, the project earned the bank $16,000 in incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.