IBM Wins 'Green' Cloud Patent for More Efficient Data Centers
By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated November 11, 2013.
Big Blue inventors have patented a new technique that makes it possible for cloud computing data center operators to dynamically redistribute workloads to lower-powered or underutilized systems. The benefit: it minimizes the environmental footprint and impact of cloud services.
In other words, IBM just made greener clouds a reality.
“The efficient, distributed cloud computing model has made it possible for people to bank, shop, trade stocks and do many other things online, but the massive data centers that enable these apps can include many thousands of energy-consuming systems,” said Keith Walker, IBM Master Inventor and co-inventor on the patent. “We have invented a way for cloud service providers to more efficiently manage their data centers and, as a result, significantly reduce their environmental impact.”
One Size Does Not Fit All
Business and government demand for cloud-based IT infrastructure services is growing rapidly. As a result, cloud data center power consumption is on the rise. Most commodity cloud providers follow a one-size-fits-all approach to delivering services via power-crunching servers -- without taking into account the sustainability strategies of individual customers.
Big Blue’s patented cloud computing invention is similar to how energy utilities offer consumers ways to automatically access and pay for alternative energy sources such as wind or solar to reduce their impacts on the environment. Here’s how it works: A cloud will be tuned to automatically route service requests through network devices, systems and software that process the service while consuming the least amount of electricity.
IBM’s cloud data center management invention will address the complexity of deploying optimal cloud environments, while making it easier and more affordable to offer new solutions and services to clients.
IBM Still Patent King
IBM holds the patent crown. Big Blue racked up a record 6,478 patents in 2012 for inventions, making it the patent king for 20 straight years. More than 8,000 IBM inventors across 46 U.S. states and 35 countries participated in 2012's record-breaking patent approvals. IBM inventors residing outside the U.S. contributed to nearly 30 percent of the company's 2012 U.S. patent output.
From 1993-2012, IBM inventors received nearly 67,000 U.S. patents. The company's 2012 patent count exceeded the combined totals of Accenture, Amazon, Apple, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Oracle/SUN and Symantec.
For the record in 2012, Samsung came in second with 5,081 patents. Canon ranked third; Sony fourth; and Panasonic fifth. Microsoft, Toshiba, Hon Hai, General Electric and LG Electronics rounded out the top 10, in that order, according to IFI Claims Patent Services.
Some of the most interesting patents IBM filed in 2012 include a system and method for providing answers to questions. This patented invention was implemented in the IBM Watson system. It describes a technique that makes it possible for computers to take a question expressed in natural language, understand it in detail, and deliver a precise answer to the question.