HP Cools Down Data Centers

Hewlett-Packard comes up with new ways to cut cooling costs in the data center, including a water-filled unit that lets racks handle three times the power.

Hewlett-Packard is rolling out several technologies designed to cut cooling costs in the data center, including a water-filled module that fits over a new standard rack from the computer maker.

HPs Modular Cooling System is a self-contained unit that takes hot air from the back of the new HP 10000 G2 Series rack, cools it as it passes by the side of the rack and then blows the cooled air back into the front.

The system, which uses water from sources already available in the data center cooling units, enables users to put up to 30 kilowatts of power in a single rack, which is three times the amount a current rack can handle, offering businesses consolidation options and investment protection, said Paul Perez, vice president of storage, networking and infrastructure for HPs Industry Standard Servers unit.

"What I see when I talk with customers is that they have [racks in] the 6 to 8 KW range," Perez said. "With blade system and scale-out deployments … I see 8 KW going to 15 or 20 KW in the next two years."

HPs launch of the Modular Cooling System—with pricing starting at $30,500—is the latest external device from a systems maker aimed at addressing the problem of heat being generated by more power and more dense server environments.

Egenera, of Marlboro, Mass., last week unveiled its CoolFrame modules in conjunction with Liebert, which manufactures power and cooling devices for data centers. The modules—which are Liebert XD cooling devices that attach to the back of the Egenera BladeFrame EX chassis—use refrigerant to cool the air as it comes out of the back of the unit. Egenera officials said 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.

In July, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., rolled out the eServer Rear Door Heat eXchanger—dubbed "Cool Blue"—which is an attachment that also uses water already available in the data centers cooling system.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about "Cool Blue."

Egenera officials said the companys use of refrigerant is important in that it takes the threat of water leaks in the data center out of the equation. However, HPs Perez said he has heard no worries about water in data centers.

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"We havent seen any serious concern with [water in the] data center, because it already exists there," he said, referring to the air-conditioning units.

HP also is consolidating its previously seven incompatible racks onto the new HP 10000 G2 Series rack—either 36U or 42U—offering a standardized rack and power platform. Like the Modular Cooling System, the new rack supports HPs ProLiant and BladeSystem servers, as well as its high-end Integrity, Integrity NonStop and HP 9000 systems and the StorageWorks portfolio of storage arrays.

Along with support for the new modular cooling unit, the new rack also offers greater ventilation than previous HP racks, Perez said.

In addition, HP is offering the PDU (Power Distribution Unit) Management Module, which promises better power efficiency by enabling users to monitor and control individual HP PDUs from a single console via HPs Systems Insight Manager and other software.

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., also is productizing several services that it has been doing on a customer-by-customer basis, including the Data Center Assessment Service and Data Center Thermal Assessment Service, which already have proved to save businesses upward of 25 percent on their cooling costs.

The Data Center Site Planning Service, where HP employees work with businesses in setting up their data centers, expands into other hardware platforms that HP already had been offering with its high-end Superdome server products, Perez said.

There also will be a host of services surrounding the Modular Cooling System, he said.

The cooling system, HP 10000 G2 Series racks and PDU Management Module will be available Feb. 6. Pricing for the racks will start at $1,249 for a 42U rack and $1,199 for the 36U model. The PDU Management Module starts at $199.

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