HP Retools Cooling Management Solution

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HP has repackaged its data center cooling management tool, hoping a new scaled-down version will resonate with a broader set of data center customers. The HP Data Center Environmental Edge solution combines wireless sensors and management software to give data center operators a visual overview of the temperature in their racks.

Environmental Edge is a stripped-down version of Dynamic Smart Cooling (DSC), the flagship cooling management solution HP began selling in 2007. Like DSC, the new cooling solution is designed to provide precise management of air conditioning systems in response to changes in server temperatures. The system deploys sensors throughout the data center, which take regular readings and report the results back to HP’s Environmental Observer visualization software.

What’s different?  Dynamic Smart Cooling included an initial airflow analysis using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, as well as the ability to automatically turn AC systems on or off as temperatures rise and fall. CFD modeling is cool but not cheap, which may have presented a barrier for some customers.

Environmental Edge uses wireless sensors from SynapSense to provide continual data on thermal conditions in the data center, as well as humidity, air pressure and power utilization. HP also offers an expanded sensor system that can track chilled water flow, rack door position, water leak detection and kilowatt-hour meters.

“Think of this as a lightweight version of Dynamic Smart Cooling,” said Ed Turkel, manager of business development for HP Scalable Computing & Infrastructure. “What we’ve found is that customers were asking for something lighter weight. It’s very simple to implement.”

The visualizations of data center conditions in the Environmental Observer software can help managers detect and address “hot spots” due to inadequate cooling. Alarms are activated when temperature, humidity or air pressure thresholds are exceeded. Turkel said HP had encountered “some resistance” to a Dynamic Smart Cooling feature that automates management of computer room air conditioners (CRACs) and air handlers (CRAHs) using the thermal management server. DSC is designed to provide more precise temperature management, allowing companies to save energy on cooling systems by raising the temperature .

Environmental Edge is expected be available beginning June 15, with prices starting at approximately $8 to 10 per square foot for a 5,000 square foot data center. Pricing may vary for larger facilities.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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