Keeping the Data Center Cool

HP unveils service designed to help businesses optimize data center cooling systems.

Enterprises today are putting more powerful systems that carry more processing power into their data centers, putting a premium on cooling the data centers.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday unveiled a service designed to help businesses optimize data center cooling systems.

The companys "static smart cooling" service is software that takes in 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—and uses this information to create a 3-D model of heat distribution throughout the center, according to Brian Donabedian, site planner and environmental specialist for HP.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company can then recommend ways the enterprise can maximize their cooling abilities and cut their 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."

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.

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 the next couple of 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 needed is 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 information is then sent to a central console, where an administrator can adjust the heating and cooling system accordingly.

The static service is available now, either as part of the UDC or on its own, he said. It can be used as a data center is being set up or in an existing data center.

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