IBM CIO arrives in Australia next week to meet IT executives

Supports 400,000 devices and thousands of servers

IBM's global CIO Mark Hennessy will be in Australia next week and will talk to local IT executives about innovation and leadership.

Appointed to the CIO role in July 2007, Hennessy is responsible for the technology needs of 372,000 staff worldwide along with 50,000 contractors.

This means Hennessy supports more than 400,000 devices, eight million square feet of data centres along with thousands of servers and applications.

Although Hennessy has been employed by IBM for 25 years, he describes his current job as his first "pure technology role".

In an interview with Computerworld's sister publication in the US, Network World, Hennessy said: "Before this job I had responsibility for the distribution sector, which is all of our largest clients in retail, consumer products, travel and transportation. I was general manager. This is the first pure-technology job I've had."

However, he went on to point out that he has spent decades working with clients on how to use IBM technology to solve problems.

"I think one of the key requirements for CIOs these days is to drive real collaboration between the IT community and the line of business to make sure we are addressing the requirements of the line of business, we're helping to set strategy," he said.

When Hennessy first told his old clients he was taking on the CIO role, he said they smirked and said 'well, now you're going to see what it's really like.'

Since moving into the position Hennessy has launched a huge energy-conservation project to consolidate 3,900 IBM servers in six locations around the world.

One of those locations is Australia which will be participating in the initiative.

This will reduce power by 80 per cent and save US$250 million on electricity, support and software over the next five years.

The servers will be replaced with 30 IBM System z9 mainframes running Linux and virtualization software.

The move will cut floor space needed to house the machines by 85 per cent. IBM's current data centre space is equivalent to 139 football fields.

Playing host to Hennessy's presentation, which will be held in Sydney on February 13, 2008, is the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Hennessy is a graduate of Boston College and also has an MBA from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business.

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