HP Service to Help Cut Energy Costs

Smart cooling recommends ways to maximize cooling, will let admins monitor heat distribution.

A new service from Hewlett-Packard Co. called Smart Cooling is designed to help enterprises optimize cooling systems in their increasingly crowded data centers.

HPs static smart-cooling service starts with the deployment of software that takes in a plethora of data—from the amount of heat generated by each system to the flow of the air in the data center to the number and type of air cooling systems being used. It uses this information to create a three-dimensional model of heat distribution throughout the center, said Brian Donabedian, site planner and environmental specialist for HP.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company then recommends ways an enterprise can maximize its cooling and cut energy costs, sometimes by as much as 25 percent, officials said. "Today, its being done on an intuitive basis," Donabedian said. "But its getting harder to do that."

"Overall, the goal is to reduce the chaos of the [cooling] equipment in data centers," Donabedian said. "This will help customers to understand the proper way to provide cooling to their equipment."

HP used the service—developed by HP Labs—in its own data center, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs, said Nick van der Zweep, director of utility computing in HPs Enterprise Systems Group.

Enterprises will continue wrestling with ways to keep their data centers cool, according to one analyst.

"The fact is that compute density is increasing the amount of capacity on every square foot of the data center floor," said Steve Josselyn, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. "With the introduction of blades, that is only increasing."

Couple that with the more powerful processors used in the systems, and "the issue of cooling becomes increasingly important," Josselyn said.

The cooling service is part of HPs UDC (Utility Data Center) architecture, which is the cornerstone of the companys utility computing initiative.

The strategy is aimed at virtualizing server, storage, application and network resources within data centers to enable administrators to dynamically deploy them as needed.

Within two years, HP will introduce dynamic smart cooling, which will enable administrators to adjust the heating and cooling systems depending on the need, van der Zweep said. For example, there are times when some servers are not being used and thus are not generating heat. At these times, the amount of cooling power can be reduced.

Van der Zweep said HP, as part of the development of the dynamic cooling service, is experimenting with a robot armed with sensors that can move around the data center, stopping at each system and measuring the amount of heat being generated. That measurement information is then sent to a central console, where an administrator can adjust the heating and cooling system accordingly.

The Smart Cooling service is available now, as part of UDC or on its own for deployment by customers. It can be used in a data center that is being set up or in an existing center.