HP adds thermal mapping to energy-saving services

HP Wednesday announced it had added thermal mapping capabilities to its data center assessment services that show customers how they can potentially save between 10 percent and 45 percent on energy costs by using cooling systems more efficiently and optimizing data center design.

HP Thermal Zone Mapping uses technology developed by HP Labs to create a three-dimensional model of how much, how often and exactly where air conditioners are blasting systems with cold air. The model, HP says, will help data center managers better arrange systems and other resources to optimize the use of pricey air conditioning. The company adds that when Thermal Zone Mapping is coupled with HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling (DSC) products customers can save up to 45 percent on energy costs spent on cooling.

"The technology we use can show customers the coolest parts of the data center so they can locate their mission-critical systems near the CRACs, or computer room air conditioners," says Brian Brouillette, a vice president with HP. He explains that often CRACs are located in less than optimal locations. "Thermal Assessment Services can show customers where the air is cold, when it's coming into the room, when and where the cold air turns to hot air and how the air is ultimately evacuated."

For instance, there can be a hot air exhaust on one server positioned toward the cool air intake of its neighbor. Also, he says data centers could be designed in such a way that cool air is being pushed up from below the floor, but immediately being sucked out of the room via exhaust systems in the ceiling. The services from HP pinpoint where resources are being wasted and suggest fixes to midsize and large enterprise customers.

The mapping technology now offered as part of the services can help data center managers redesign existing layouts but also plan for new deployments of blades, for instance.

HP uses the technology in its data center in Palo Alto alongside DSC products. DSC includes sensors installed on racks of servers that send information on temperature changes to a central monitoring system -- which can trigger air conditioners to cool down an over-heating set of servers. And when the servers start to cool down, DSC will pull back the air conditioning resources.

"We thought we were optimized in Palo Alto, but we were able to save 20 percent," Brouillette says.

HP offers three levels of its Thermal Assessment Services, with prices ranging from a flat US$10,000 for a basic assessment to about $100,000 for broader services in large data centers. Pricing can be dependent on data center size and the number of devices.

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