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HP gets into data center design; acquires EYP Mission Critical Facilities

By acquiring EYP Mission Critical Facilities, HP will help customers tackle spiraling data center energy use.

Hewlett-Packard Co. announced yesterday that it will acquire EYP Mission Critical Facilities Inc., a data center consulting business, to bolster its own position in the data center facilities space.

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EYP has made its name by helping companies design large-scale data centers, and its client list includes dozens of Fortune 100 businesses. It has also helped design data centers for IT players such as HP, IBM Corp., Microsoft and Sun Microsystems Inc.

HP has yet to disclose how much it will pay for the New York-based EYP, which has 350 employees in 13 offices, including 11 in the U.S., one in London and one in Dubai.

HP's acquisition of EYP, said HP officials, is part of a larger strategy to bridge the gap between facilities and IT. IT analyst Joe Clabby of Clabby Analytics said many companies need to rebuild their data centers to free up space and power. Thus, HP's move to develop business in this market is a good strategy.

 [The question was whether it was] quicker to build it or buy it, and they determined it was quicker to buy it.
Joe Clabby,
analystClabby Analytics

"I think it's really a question of expertise," Clabby said. "Does HP have a beat on the street, the people and the skill set to mount an attack on modernizing the data center? [The question was whether it was] quicker to build it or buy it, and they determined it was quicker to buy it."

He added that IBM has built data centers for decades, and Sun has worked on creating a strong facilities backbone to support its push for utility computing. Now HP is becoming a stronger player.

"If you're going to rebuild the data center, you're going to look at IBM, you're going to look at Sun, and now you're going to hear about HP," he said.

Alliances between system and facilities vendors are not new; another example is the relationship between IBM and American Power Conversion Corp. .

The backdrop for these deals is the growing importance of energy use in data centers. As facilities have expanded to accommodate growing businesses and an increasing number of applications, they've needed more power and cooling infrastructure. In a survey this year of 374 North American data center managers, 43% said either power or cooling was the factor most limiting data center growth.

By acquiring EYP, HP customers will now have a single vendor to turn to for systems and facilities consulting. Once the deal is complete, EYP will be known as EYP Mission Critical Facilities, a division of HP.

During a conference call yesterday, HP and EYP executives said the deal would not undermine EYP's objectivity and that customers wouldn't get HP equipment foisted on them all the time.

"When we launched EYP MCF, we developed an approach to branding to be the thought leader in the mission-critical space," said Steve Einhorn, EYP's chairman. "It was clearly understood when EYP got together with HP that it would continue to support that thought leadership as a true neutral consultancy."

Will there be overlap between HP and ERP? Not much, the two companies' executives said, because HP is largely a systems vendor and EYP a facilities consultancy. But over the past few years, HP and other systems vendors have dabbled in data center power and cooling issues; HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling and Thermal Logic are examples. Overlap in the use of computational fluid dynamics, which help data centers determine where hot and cold air is flowing in their data centers, is also likely.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. You can also check out our Server Specs blog.

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