Dynamic Smart Cooling: HP ferrets out data center hot spots

HP is aiming to help users control hot spots in their data centers with Dynamic Smart Cooling, a network of temperature sensors that hook up to a central console and a data center's air-conditioning units to control how much cooling is needed and where.

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Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) today introduced Dynamic Smart Cooling, a network of temperature sensors installed on racks in a data center to help facility managers control hot spots.

Under the system, HP would send in a team to your data center to place sensors throughout the facility, typically within racks. Those sensors would be connected to a central HP server with software that could show a data center manager where the hot spots were, and automatically ramp up or wind down air-conditioning units in the room, accordingly.

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HP's first customer for this system is itself. In May, the company announced that it would be consolidating 85 of its international data centers into six, a process expected to take three to four years. The company is installing the sensors in all its new facilities.

The company will also beta test the system with other customers over the next year, but general availability and pricing isn't expected until July at the earliest.

Jonathan Eunice, a principal IT advisor at Illuminata Inc., said it's about time vendors and users started monitoring temperature throughout the data center.

"Feedback-based control systems are very widely accepted in manufacturing," he said. "In a sense, the air flow and heat distribution in a computer room really isn't that much a different situation from heat distribution in a steel furnace. Where's our heat? Where are the heat elements? How can we adjust what's going on to adjust the process? It's remarkable that the industry hasn't done a better job of doing this before."

Both Eunice and Michelle Bailey, research vice presidents for data center trends and enterprise platforms at research firm IDC, said Dynamic Smart Cooling also starts to bridge the gap between the IT and facility sides of a data center.

"There are all these single solutions that don't look across the entire infrastructure," Bailey said. "I think this is a recognition that the power and cooling solution is not going to be one magic bullet. This is more of a holistic solution. It looks at more of a room view of power and cooling, not just a system view or a rack view."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer.

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