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HP Maps Greener Data Center

In an effort to lead the race to go green, HP is expanding its energy efficiency portfolio with a three-dimensional mapping system meant to cut power costs. The system issues ongoing reports of data center cooling and wasted energy.

HP this week announced an expansion of its Thermal Zone Mapping from two-dimensional data center modeling to three-dimensional. 3D mapping, which is part of HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling solution, works by placing a network of sensors that produce something similar to a weather map of a data center, as well as a report on where and how cooling is occurring. The goal is to discover problems like over-provisioned cooling or poor data-center layout, which results in wasted power. The software then adjusts cooling temperatures throughout the data center.

"There are simple problems that can easily be solved by close monitoring," says Brian Brouillette, vice president of HP's mission-critical network and education services. "Is there a hot air outlet of one rack pointing at a cool rack right next to it? It's as close to random as it can be [in many data centers]."

HP is only one of a slew of companies offering energy efficiency products. (See Big Blue Launches Big Green.) IBM has a similar product -- Mobile Measurement Technology -- a device that draws data from up to 100 wireless sensors placed throughout the data center.

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric runs IBMs energy-efficiency product. “We push this device through the data center and we can see where warm spots are, where the cold spots are, and where the hot spots are," says Steven Knaebel, IT manager at PG&E.

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