HP takes the heat off blades

* HP's blade servers get cool

HP is taking on heat and power issues in the data center with the announcement of two products intended to cool and power data center servers and blades.

The products, which are expected to ship this week consist of a heat exchange panel that attaches to the side of a server rack. The panel is water-cooled and can cool as much as 30 kilowatts of power. A normal rack configuration can consume as much as 10 kilowatts of power (see HP's news release).

Called the HP Modular Cooling System (MCS), the system costs $30,500 and can be managed like the blades in the rack from one management console - HP's Systems Insight Manager (SIM). The MCS connects to external chilled water systems.

Implementing the HP MCS requires customers to use HP's newly introduced 10000 G2 Universal Rack, a product that works with all of HP's server products. The 10000 G2 Universal Rack costs $1,200. It does not yet work with HP's existing 10000 G1 racks. The company claims it will introduce a cooling kit that will attach to the older ProLiant 10000 G1 racks this year.

The HP MCS sucks heat out of the system, pushes it through the water and to the outside chiller. Hot air from the rear of the rack is pumped through the exchanger and cool air pushed out the front of the rack.

HP also said it plans an MCS that can chill an entire row of racks. This product is expected in the first quarter of next year.

Other vendors have also introduced cooling technology for their blade servers. IBM announced a heat exchanger last year codenamed Cool Blue, which fits on the back of an eServer Enterprise Rack. And Egenera last week announced an agreement with Liebert to provide cooling technology for its Egenera BladeFrame server.

HP also introduced its Power Distribution Unit (PDU) Management Module, which can remotely manage all the individual HP power strips in a data center and send alerts to HP's Systems Insight Manager. It costs $199.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.