Soaring demand for information technology, increasingly powerful microprocessors, the growing popularity of compact blade servers means that data centers are more densely packed than ever.
The result: An enormous need for power -- both to run all those servers and to keep the data center as a whole cool -- and just as enormous power costs. In many cases, power costs may even exceed the cost of the hardware.
At the same time, power and cooling issues are constraining data center operators' ability to use all of the "real estate" in their racks.
HP Labs has been pursuing energy-aware computing technologies for more than 10 years, and has helped establish HP as a leader in this area. The company has hundreds of power- or cooling-related patents.
Our goal is provide better energy efficiency, increase data center uptime and allow data centers to operate at higher power densities so users can get the most out of their IT investments. Reducing the power demands has an added bonus: Generating less power means consuming fewer natural resources and promoting a cleaner environment.
Researchers are attacking this problem holistically, investigating everything from the chips to the servers to the data centers to the services that run in the data center. We are looking at both sides of the energy-management equations -- finding ways to more effectively cool data centers, as well as designing more energy-efficient data centers so they generate less heat in the first place.
Our work centers on these activities:
designing hardware that consumes less energy
deploying computing workloads in a more energy-efficient manner
developing systems for dynamically allocating power and cooling
building sophisticated sensing systems to control cooling
HP Labs' research contributed to HP's Dynamic Smart Cooling, which connects temperature sensors on the racks to the data center air conditioning system, then dynamically controls air conditioning based on real-time measurements in the racks. The system, which was piloted in HP Labs, is designed to reduce cooling costs by 25 to 40 percent.
Earlier, our work became the basis for HP's Data Center Thermal Assessment Services. This service, assesses the unique thermal conditions in a data center and develops recommendations for better cooling.