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Cool, Man

I suppose that the good thing is that I can only use that headline once, ever. There it is; you'll never have to see it again. But indeed, there are a couple of cool things to write about here, one of which you may have noticed last week. Here at the Pipelines, we're streamlining these newsletters a bit. We're not going to stop comprehensively covering the server market, how to best use your servers and software, and the other things you'll care about; that stuff will continue to reside at Server Pipeline. But we're also aiming to simply bring you the few best items in the newsletter; we know your time doesn't grow on trees, and I want to be sure that the things you see here are the things that will matter the most to you as readers. And please please PLEASE, I'd love your continued feedback on how I can make it better.

Another item really does qualify as "cool." IBM has introduced a water-cooling add-on for server racks; the company says the "Cool Blue" unit can cut energy costs by more than $9,000 per year on each server rack it's applied to. This is a never-ending quest in server rooms, of course: We've featured some tactics for getting those heating costs down and kept up with the news on cooling techniques even down to the processor level. And I expect the story to continue. The twin trends of server consolidation (which helps get heat down) and blades (which cut your server size, but increase the number of processors and fans) pull the heat problem in different directions, and whatever your business strategy is, keeping the ACs as a small budget line will only endear you to your company's bean-counters and bosses.

In that context, IBM's new offering is another weapon in the fight. The idea is hardly new (that's why nuclear plants are frequently located near water -- to use it as the cooling mechanism, much to the dismay of local fish species who get the warmth blasted back at them), and it's certainly effective. Cost-effective? That's your call. IBM has priced the Cool Blue units starting at $4,200, which means that they pay for themselves within a year if IBM's savings estimates hold up. Of course, you have to be using IBM server racks in the first place, so if you don't have those at the moment, figure that into the budget as well. Or, you may just choose to hang on -- I bet we see some generic copy-catting of this concept before too long. In this business, "one size fits all" is still a mantra.