Egenera, Liebert Team to Cut Data Center Cooling Costs

The companies introduce an external cooling unit for Egenera's BladeFrame server chassis that will help enterprises keep their data center cooling costs down while they add computing power.

Egenera is teaming with Liebert in rolling out an external cooling unit to coincide with the system makers launch Jan. 24 of the third generation of its BladeFrame chassis.

The CoolFrame technology, which are modules that are attached to the back of the BladeFrame EX chassis, cools the air as it comes out of the back of the unit, which will help enterprises keep their data center cooling costs down while they add computing power.

"Its become apparent that cooling is going to be one of the battlegrounds in the data center," said Dan Busby, director of product design at Egenera.

The BladeFrame EX can be delivered with the Liebert XD cooling technology already attached, or added on at a later day. The modules, two of which can be attached to the chassis, are hooked into a XDP or XDC cooling pump, which pushes refrigerant into the modules. One pump can provide up to 160 kilowatts of cooling capacity, enough to handle eight BladeFrame EX systems.

The CoolFrame technology can drop the cooling load of a BladeFrame EX from 20,000 watts to 1,500 watts and reduce data center cooling costs by as much as 23 percent, Egenera officials said.

Susan Davis, vice president of marketing and product management for Egenera, said it was important to find a product that would bring refrigerant at a low pressure into the data center rather than water, which poses a greater threat to the systems if a leak occurs.

"This really resolves the issue of water in the data center and leaks," Davis said.

The refrigerant is pumped in as a liquid, but returns as a gas, which makes it better than water for data centers, said Fred Stack, vice president of marketing for Liebert.

Liebert, a unit of Emerson, manufactures power and cooling products for data centers. Fred Stack, vice president of marketing at Liebert, said the CoolFrame offering is an example of what his company offers.

"Its trying to remove the heat as close to the source of the heat as possible," Stack said.

As cooling and power become a greater issue in the data center, vendors are looking at external products as part of the solution. In July, IBM introduced "Cool Blue"—its full name is the eServer Rear Door Heat eXchanger—an attachment to standard 42U (6-foot) racks that uses water already available in the data centers cooling system to cool the air coming out of the systems.

Vendors also are looking to component makers—chip makers, in particular—to find ways of making products that offer high performance but consume less energy and generate less heat.

Stack said there are additional costs involved for users in bringing such options as the CoolFrame product to their data centers, but the costs of cooling the rooms—particularly as server form factors become more dense and processors more powerful—will continue to climb.

"Theyre seeing that they have to do something, and theyre going to have to spend some money," he said. That said, adding CoolFrame modules to the BladeFrame EX adds less than 3 percent to the overall cost, he said.

"Its relatively inexpensive, but it does take some money," Stack said. "But the only other option is spreading [servers out in the data center], and they cant do that if they dont have the space."

Along with the cooling option, the BladeFrame EX also offers greater performance and connectivity, Davis said.

The Control Blade EX offers eight fabric connections, which results in 280 percent better network performance and 230 percent better disk performance over the previous Control Blade. The new Control Blade also supports 4G bps Fibre Channel and 10G bps Ethernet.

In addition, the number of Ethernet ports is doubled, to 16. Investment protection also is guaranteed, since BladeFrame EX is backward compatible with existing blades and software, Davis said.


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