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Server Specs: HP to launch energy efficient server fans

HP to launch energy efficient server fans; Sun continues to thumb nose at liquid cooling; AMD posts ticker display in Times Square to challenge Intel.

HP to launch energy efficient server fans
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) this summer plans to introduce new fans for blade servers that use a ducted design borrowed from remote-controlled model airplanes. Wade Vinson, a fan technologist at HP and the chief designer of the technology, said the fans have a more aggressive blade area, as well as a higher ratio of depth, which can produce more torque and higher cubic feet per minute. Vinson said he researched the idea and met with a local producer of high-performance, radio-controlled model aircraft, who utilizes ducted fans, which normally have more and shorter blades than propellers, and therefore, can run at higher speeds.

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"The amount of airflow you can produce is incredible," Vinson said, adding that adoption will cut airflow needs in half, reduce noise, and reduce the power output. "I think I just found a way to keep liquid out of our servers for another 10 years." HP plans to launch the Active Cool Fans this summer in the company's BladeSystem blade servers, the line that trails IBM by single digits for the market share lead. Upon successful adoption, Vinson said, the technology will be applied to other server lines.

Sun continues to thumb nose at liquid cooling
In stark contrast to commentary and product rollouts from IBM, HP and American Power Conversion Corp., among others, Sun Microsystems Inc. this week rebuffed the stance that liquid -cooling is necessary now -- or even an inevitability in the future. Jeff O'Neal director of product marketing for Sun Scalable Systems Group, said liquid-as-an-answer is inefficient, and described it as Band-Aiding a problem that should be addressed with design at the chip level. "With Niagara, we created a chip with eight-cores … by keeping those threads busy, we could actually run at a relaxed clock speed, which helps keep the heat down," O'Neil said. "Retrofitting and greenfielding [a data center for liquid cooling] add both cost and complexity. The real answer is don't put the heat into the data center and you don't have as much to take out." Analysts say this stance is convenient considering Sun is the only major vendor with no liquid options on the market, but also point to customers wary to adopt a new technology, of which no standards have yet been cemented.

AMD posts ticker display in Times Square to challenge Intel
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) posted a ticker display in Times Square this week comparing the cost of running x86 servers on its Opteron chips compared to Intel Corp.'s Xeon chips. The display is part of an ongoing effort by AMD to gain market share on its larger rival by adding energy efficiency to the argument of chip performance. AMD was also one of the founding members of The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization examining power consumption in the data center, and has invited Intel to join the group.

AFCO partners with Sanmina SCI Systems

AFCO Systems has partnered with Sanmina-SCI Corp. to distribute Sanmina's Ecobay 125 brand water-cooled cabinet enclosures. Farmingdale, N.Y.-based AFCO, a designer and manufacturer of cabinet enclosures, was selected because of its strong market presence in the U.S. compared to Sanmina, an electronics manufacturer that has thrived in Europe. Data center cooling expert Robert E. McFarlane, president of the Interport Division of New York-based Shen, Milsom and Wilke Inc. said "Sanmina is getting distribution, name recognition and market penetration, and AFCO is getting a technology that they don't have to go out and invent." Ecobay -- priced at $14,000 per enclosure and marketed as a Sanmina product -- is designed to improve cooling efficiency by moving cooling closer to the load.

ADC rolls out cabling system to help TIA-942 compliance
Minnesota-based networking equipment company ADC announced this week a set of products meant to help businesses comply with TIA-942, the data center design standards set by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The highlight of the products is ADC's cabling management system, which it says employs a "cross-connect" design that allows data center managers to make changes to the network as requirements and needs change. TIA released its new standard, TIA-942, last year, which provides requirements and guidelines for setting up a data center, including issues with cabling.

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