Iceotope is a UK-based company I have been tracking since it first emerged in 2009, and then disappeared, before resurfacing in 2012 backed by Peter Hopton (of VeryPC fame). I had been aware of the concept of cooling datacenters with liquid rather than air – the technology dates back to the mainframe era – but it has largely remained a niche technology only found in high performance computing and supercomputing systems. It’s fair to say that Iceotope probably did more than other companies to turn me on to the idea that this could be a disruptive technology in enterprise datacenters too (although there are a lot of reasons why it might not do). So it was good to see this week that others have bought into its approach – to the tune of $10m – including datacenter giant Schneider Electric. I will be following up with Iceotope later this week and am also working on a Long Format Report for 451 Research on the 15 plus companies developing direct liquid cooling technology.
I spoke with European datacenter start-up Eco4Cloud a couple of weeks back and the report based on that conversation has just been published (for 451 subscribers) on 451 Research.com. Eco4Cloud (E4C) is a spinoff from the Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking (ICAR) of Italy’s National Research Council (CNR) and the University of Calabria. The company has developed software designed to deal with virtual machine (VM) sprawl and low server-utilization rates. E4C’s software effectively automates the real-time consolidation of VMs onto the minimum number of physical servers. The remaining servers, with a low number of VMs or none at all, can be power-managed dynamically based on workload variations, or even retired. E4C has received early stage funding from two external investors, and is looking to attract new investment and partners in 2014.
I took part in this webcast with TSO Logic in December 2013. The webcast looked at the importance of IT energy efficiency to lowering datacenter operating and capital costs. 451 Research gave an overview of some of the main themes and trends in this area before TSO Logic gave a detailed account of how its software can be used to identify and eliminate under-utilised servers, and power manage IT equipment.
Datacenter modularity is one of the hot-topics for us at 451 Research’s Datacenter Technologies team. I have just completed a couple of reports back to back on what HP and Dell offer in this area. There are certain similarities but also big differences. Dell is going down a mainly services route while HP sees containerized datacenters as a natural extension of the server, rack and row.
However some critics have written off containers as a dead-end technology. We think that containers are selling, and will continue to do so for the immediate future but prefabricated IT, power and cooling modules (similar to Dell’s offering or HP’s Butterfly product) are more likely replacements for traditional bricks and mortar builds.
Check out these two reports for more (451 Research subscribers only I am afraid)
451 Research report: Dell eschews containers in favor of modular datacenter services
Dell’s competitors sell a range of modular datacenter products, such as Hewlett-Packard’s Performance Optimized Datacenter and IBM’s Portable Modular Data Center. However, Dell’s Modular Data Center group (part of Dell Data Center Solutions, or DCS) prefers to provide products and services with an emphasis on customization and best fit for the customer.(MORE)
451 Research report: HP talks up Performance Optimized Datacenters, but should it be chasing the Butterfly?
Hewlett-Packard recently asserted some ambitious potential market-size data for its container-based Performance Optimized Datacenters (PODs). The supplier believes PODs could be a relevant option for up to 45% of new total capital expenditure on datacenters over the next few years (up to $13bn in 2012). (MORE)
To subscribe or learn more about the Datacenter Technologies practice, apply for trial access here.
Our latest The 451 Group report on energy management start-up Joulex looks at how the company might benefit from the US Federal government’s datacenter consolidation plans. Consolidation is obviously about shutting down surplus resources – from individual devices to entire datacenters – but before you can start that process, and realize the savings, you need to know what you have to begin with.
Unfortunately, individual agencies appear to be struggling with that initial work. Asset management tools exist to help with this process but these systems need to be filled with information before they can be of any use That takes time and resources. JouleX, and Triton, believe their technology can help with this initial asset discovery process, as well as with long term energy efficiency monitoring and control.
However, they are far from being the only game in town and all the other major IT consultants will be hoping to grab a slice of the ongoing consolidation work.
JouleX alliance aims to benefit from federal datacenter squeeze
Energy management startup JouleX and sustainability consultant Triton Federal Solutions announced a partnership in the third quarter of 2011. Triton is acting as a reseller for the JouleX Energy Manager (JEM) products, and the partnership could help JouleX generate sales of its technology to US government agencies. The government plans to consolidate up to 800 of its 2,000 datacenters and improve the efficiency of the remainder. Savings could be up to $23.71bn per year. However, new efficient technologies will be required to identify assets for consolidation and optimize the remaining sites. Securing a slice of this effort could be lucrative for JouleX and Triton.
Latest report for The 451 Group which examines how Dell and other suppliers are updating their kit and warranties to allow them to be operated at higher temperatures.
In the third quarter of 2011, Dell announced that it had updated the warranties of some of its existing datacenter IT equipment to cover it for operation at higher temperatures and humidity. These newly certified devices are collectively known as the Dell Fresh Air Cooling range. The equipment will only be covered at the new higher temperatures for limited periods of time, but Dell says this is sufficient for most use cases. The Fresh Air range is designed to help companies cut datacenter operating costs by reducing their use of mechanical chillers.