HP, Eaton Team on Pod-Style Enclosures

A grant for $7.4 million from the Department of Energy will accelerate the development of new enclosures that can improve the energy efficiency of existing data centers, according to HP and Eaton Corp., which are teaming on the project.

A grant for $7.4 million from the Department of Energy will accelerate the development of new enclosures that can improve the energy efficiency of existing data centers, according to HP and Eaton Corp., which are teaming on the project.

The enclosures offer data center operators the ability to apply the design benefits of modular pod architectures to a small space within an existing facility. The HP/Eaton enclosure will be offered in 50 kilowatt and 100 kilowatt sizes, optimized for four to eight racks of equipment. The unit will require hookups for power and chilled water, much like a data center container.

The enclosure will feature in-row chilled water cooling and accept a high-voltage 480 volt power connection to reduce the loss from conversions during power distribution, with both AC and DC power options available. In its funding announcement, the DOE noted that the design allows for a DC system to allow the integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power. 

Focused on Retrofits
"We're talking about fixing the data centers that customers have today, and that's what the DOE liked about our proposal," said Doug Oathout, HP’s VP of Converged Infrastructure. "It's giving you more flexibility within the data center. This solution works on a raised floor or slab, but is designed to fit on the raised floor. It's really self-contained."

Eaton and HP began working together on the enclosure project last August, with plans for a phased implementation of the various features of the enclosure. The DOE funding allows  additional development teams to work concurrently, speeding the time to market.

HP and Eaton aren't alone in seeking to compartmentalize existing data center space for improved management. IBM has introduced a 200 square foot Modular High Density Zone that allows users to quickly create a high-density zone within a low-density data center.

Ideal for Consolidation
HP says its 100 kilowatt enclosure will allow users to slash energy costs by up to 38 percent compared to traditional raised floor implementations. Oathout said the solution will be  ideal for companies doing server and storage consolidation with a hardware refresh, or building a private cloud.

The appeal of the enclosure will be its ability to offer higher density and improved energy efficiency in the same square footage within an existing data center. The modular nature of the solution gives customers the option of a rolling implementation

Oathout said the new enclosure will be available in three ways:

  • Kits that combine different components  for end-users and HP installers to assemble on-site
  • Kits that allow HP partners to assemble the enclosures for their customers.
  • A full service offering installation, migration and maintenance from HP.
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