HP Unveils Architecture for First Net Zero Energy Data Center

HP Labs Architecture Significantly Reduces Data-Center Power Costs and Energy Requirements

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - May 30, 2012) - HP (NYSE: HPQ) today unveiled research from HP Labs, the company's central research arm, that illustrates the architecture for a data center that requires no net energy from traditional power grids.

The research shows how the architecture, combined with holistic energy-management techniques, enables organizations to cut total power usage by 30 percent, as well as dependence on grid power and costs by more than 80 percent.(1)

With the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center research, HP aims to provide businesses and societies around the world the potential to operate data centers using local renewable resources, removing dependencies such as location, energy supply and costs. This opens up the possibility of introducing IT services to organizations of all sizes.

"Information technology has the power to be an equalizer across societies globally, but the cost of IT services, and by extension the cost of energy, is prohibitive and inhibits widespread adoption," said Cullen Bash, distinguished technologist, HP, and interim director, Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group, HP Labs. "The HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center not only aims to minimize the environmental impact of computing, but also has a goal of reducing energy costs associated with data-center operations to extend the reach of IT accessibility globally."

HP Labs researchers describe the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center architecture, which precisely matches energy supply with energy demand required by the IT workload, in the research paper "Towards the Design and Operation of Net-Zero Energy Data Centers," to be presented tomorrow at IEEE's 13th annual Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electrical Systems. The sustainable data center at HP Labs headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., has served as the initial "test bed" for building this game-changing blueprint.

The HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center architecture integrates energy and cooling supply from local renewable sources, with a novel demand-management approach that allows the scheduling of IT workloads based on resource availability and performance requirements.

For example, noncritical, delay-tolerant workloads could be scheduled during daylight hours to coincide with solar supply for data centers equipped with photovoltaic energy generation. In this way, demand can be "shaped" according to resource availability to reduce reliance on nonrenewable resources. As a result, organizations can lower overall data-center costs -- from capital investment in upfront infrastructure technology to the operational costs of workload execution -- enabling more customers to take advantage of IT services.

The architecture for net-zero energy
The HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center is based on an innovative management architecture that integrates energy and cooling resources with IT workload planning through four modules:

  • Prediction Module: Leverages powerful predictive analytics software to forecast the availability and cost of critical resources, such as renewable energy and IT workload demand.
  • Planning Module: Delivers an optimization algorithm that balances workload scheduling with high-level operational goals, such as achieving net-zero energy operation, enabling organizations to schedule workloads based on resource availability, while meeting data-center operational goals.
  • Execution Module: Enables organizations to manage workload and energy consumption in real time according to performance requirements and data-center operational objectives.
  • Verification and Reporting Module: Identifies and remediates misalignment between the plan and execution, ensuring plan accuracy.

As part of the HP Open Innovation initiative, the Prediction Model leverages technologies developed by HP Labs in conjunction with Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.) and the University of Limerick (Ireland).

Delivering innovation to the business
The HP Enterprise Group plans to further develop the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center technology in collaboration with other HP divisions through the HP Moonshot Discovery Lab initiative and an HP EcoPOD that is part of the Discovery Lab in Houston.

HP's state-of-the-art research facility located in Fort Collins, Colo., built in collaboration with HP Labs, also provides a production environment to expand the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center architecture and related research into demand-management technology. This is a key step in bringing cutting-edge sustainability technologies to market.

HP will be showcasing the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center architecture at HP Discover, the company's premier client event, which takes place June 4-7 in Las Vegas.

Supporting resources

About HP
HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world's largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.

(1) Based on internal HP testing and calculations in a lab environment, as compared to existing, nonintegrated techniques.

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