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Blades Still Too Hot

Blades may be helping firms consolidate their compute power into much smaller spaces, but heat and power issues continue to trouble IT managers and CIOs, driving up the cost of the technology.

"The difficulty is heat, and how to get rid of that heat," explained Dennis Lair, senior technologist at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), during an event in New York City this week. "We have a limited amount of space -- [heat] seems to be a common issue that I have to deal with."

The exec told Byte and Switch that the agency has packed HP blades into its five data centers dotted around the world and is now struggling to keep them cool. "The indications that I am getting are that it's damned expensive to make the alterations to the facilities to get rid of the heat."

Another blade user at the event agreed that the technology brings a unique set of problems. "Issues of power and utilization need to be addressed," said Steve Grill, global head of IT architecture at HSBC's Corporate Investment, Banking and Markets (CIBM) division. Users, he told Byte & Switch, may have to make some radical decisions when it comes to solving these problems. "When it comes to power, the only way to address that is having less blades," he explained.

It's not a bulletin that heat and cooling have long been a problem for many blade users. (See Summer Storage Survival, Study Highlights Blade Disappointment, Data Center Heat Wave, and Vegas Blade Warning.) Options for dealing with the issues include deploying specialist cooling systems, moving to a managed data center with better environmental support for blade servers, or simply getting rid of the blades. (See EMC Offers APC Racks, It's All Cool, and NewEnergy Chops Its Blades.)

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