HP grooms green data center services for small-business market

Company adapts services to reflect unique challenges of operating sub-5,000-square-foot facilities

HP today unveiled a host of new services aimed at helping small data-center operators boost performance and cut operating costs. Aimed at data centers up to 5,000 square feet in size, these facilities-oriented services include capacity analysis, infrastructure condition and capacity analysis, and energy-efficiency analysis.

Small businesses with modestly sized data centers face challenges similar to those of their enterprise-sized brethren, such as rising operating costs, inefficient infrastructure, limited floor space, and insufficient available power. HP's new services are intended to help address these issues, though with specific small-business-oriented challenges -- and budgets -- in mind.

[ InfoWorld is currently accepting nominations for the 2010 InfoWorld Green 15 awards. | Other vendors such as Dell have devised green-oriented services aimed at small businesses. ]

A small business with rapidly growing computing demands is more likely to bump up against space and power limitations than a company that owns a large data center space.

"Historically what we've seen is that smaller data centers tend to run a lot closer to the edge in terms of capacity," said Bill Kosik, principal of green data center technology for HP.

Additionally, whereas large data centers tend to be located in stand-alone buildings with their own power-delivery and cooling systems, small data centers are often housed in office buildings alongside other tenants, with shared resources.

Finally, the ROI for certain infrastructure upgrades, such as a new electrical or cooling system, doesn't necessarily scale as well in a small data center as it would in a larger facility.

HP is announcing three services, all under the Small Footprint Assessment moniker. Through its Basic Capacity Analysis assessment, HP measures a data center's quantative power and cooling capacity, compared to its computing capacity, and helps operators allocate infrastructure resources more effectively. The service helps to determine whether a facility's existing infrastructure can support current or future capacity needs.

The Infrastructure Condition and Capacity Analysis provides a data center health check, identifying aged and inferior infrastructure and potential single points of failure. "We look at what are some of the different risks in a facility's existing infrastructure, problems that could affect the data center's ability to stay alive," said Kosik.

Finally, the Energy Efficiency Analysis is aimed at drilling down into the energy efficiency of a data center's power and cooling equipment. The process entails taking detailed power measurements with meters.

These new services do not directly address IT solutions to boosting efficiency, such as virtualization, thin provisioning, and the like. As noted by Kosik, a solution that reduces the number of servers or the amount of storage gear that a data center uses can directly lower the amount of power and cooling infrastructure the company has to run. In other words, gains realized through more efficient use of IT can be exponential.

This story, "HP grooms green data center services for small-business market," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in green IT at InfoWorld.com.

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