IBM Backs Green Data Centre Degree

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The announcement follows the launch of a Green IT qualification from the British Computing Society earlier this year

IBM has put its weight behind what it claims is a first-of-its-kind degree in green data centre management in the US, taking advantage of funding offered by the Obama administration to help community colleges and universities to modernise their facilities.

In a statement released this week, IBM said it was offering the degree in partnership with the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Omaha, Nebraska. The new two-year degree will apparently include courses to help students get technical and business skills which IBM says will help them prepare for careers in the design and management of energy efficient data centres.

“IBM’s Academic Initiative will further help ensure that MCC students are developing technology skills that bring together computer science, engineering and sustainability,” said Tom Pensabene, dean of Information Technology of Metropolitan Community College. “We’re seeing a dramatic increase in demand here in Nebraska for specialists who understand how to help companies reduce the costs associated with running an energy-intensive data centre.”

The new degree, Associate Degree in Information Technology – Data Center Management, will be available from December 2009 and will include modules such as virtualisation, remote access and monitoring. “Until now there has been no comprehensive, real-world learning environment for students to get green data centre skills at the undergraduate level,” IBM and MCC said.

The course will also focus on server consolidation, energy efficiency, business resiliency, and security and will use a new enterprise data centre on campus. The centre has been built using IBM’s Power Systems servers running AIX, IBM i and Linux.

MCC also added that the new course will be offered online to remote students who will also be able to get virtual access to the physical data centre.

In May, The British Computing Society announced that it is supporting what it claims is the first and only recognised qualification for green IT. The Foundation Certificate in Green IT will provide guidance on issues such as corporate social responsibility, environmental legislation and carbon emission reduction, the organisation said.

Also in May, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened a new, £2-million Scottish Gas Energy Academy in Hamilton. The Scottish Gas Energy Academy has been set up to train engineers in new green technologies such as domestic micro-generation, energy efficient products, smart meters and to offer energy efficiency advice to customers – helping Scottish Gas towards its goal of taking on 100 apprentice engineers in Scotland each year – double the current figure.

The London School of Economics released a report earlier this year in which it claimed that investing in new digital infrastructure such as broadband and smart grid technology could help generate up to 700,000 new jobs in the UK. “Nations that invest in ICT to transform fields like transportation and energy reap substantial long-term economic and social benefits,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

In July this year, President Obama launched the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan to provide community colleges across the country with funding for new scholarships and online classes for students, and to modernise infrastructure.