HP Cools Things Down Just In Time For Summer

blade data

Paul Perez, vice president of storage, networks and infrastructure for HP’s industry standard servers group, said earlier this month that the forthcoming BladeSystems will use a new fan design that consumes one-third less power and is about 50 percent more efficient in airflow than fans in typical 1U servers. The fans also contain a digital controller so that they can be managed through a network.

The new systems, which will offer a choice of Intel’s new server chip, code-named Dempsey, or Advanced Micro Devices’ next-generation Opteron, also sport a redesigned chassis that Perez said helps direct airflow to areas that need the most cooling.

The new infrastructure from HP, Palo Alto, Calif., is part of a growing industry trend to cut down on power consumption and heat in data centers both small and large. HP Labs also is on the cusp of releasing a server that automates cooling management in the data center and is working on adding power and load management to its capabilities.

Heat and power issues, in general, are coming up more often with customers, said Chad Williams, manager of public sector business at Matrix Integration, a Jasper, Ind., systems integrator. “It is a topic that is getting bigger every year,” he said.

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With blades, in particular, cutting down on heat is the top priority, Williams said. Matrix sees blades as a variable option for server consolidation so getting as many blades as possible in one rack is crucial.

Williams, who manages several educational clients for Matrix, said although the size of an organization’s data center may vary, the pain points are similar. Matrix often brings vendors’ partners in to help consult on layout and heat management.

But the bulk of Matrix’ clients are managing anywhere from 10 to 80 servers. “They still have the same issues,” he said. “They want to bring in more servers without increasing space and the room still gets too hot without proper ventilation.”

The design for the BladeSystem fan was inspired by the engines of model airplanes, Perez said. In fact, it looks like a miniature jet engine in a traditional metal enclosure. Perez said the propeller-like fans were specifically designed to efficiently push air further into the blade chassis without requiring additional power. The fan has several speeds that can be controlled manually or through an automated management system. At its highest—reserved for high-power servers of the future—the fan blades turn at 166 mph.