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Transforming Your Enterprise Magazine

Spring 2009

Large Enterprise Business

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Data center capabilities in six weeks

For companies with power, cooling or space limitations, HP Performance-Optimized Data Centers (PODs) deliver capacity and efficiency as well as significant energy savings.

Data center capabilities in six weeksFor a company outgrowing its data center, they have three options -- expand the current computer room, build a new one or collocate. While these approaches are still useful and will remain common, some companies don’t have the time or budget to pursue them.

Building or expanding a data center can cost millions of dollars and take two years or more. Porting data center systems to a collocation site can also take time and create a long-term operational expense.

“Organizations now have another option,” says Steve Cumings, Director of Infrastructure for HP. “A data center in a box.”

He’s referring to HP’s Performance-Optimized Data Center (POD). A fully operational data center that is self-contained in a shipping container, HP PODs suit organizations needing fast data center expansion to address power, cooling or space limitations.

Density, power and flexibility
In terms of sheer power capacity and density, HP PODs best the vast majority of brick-and-mortar data centers. PODs support a whopping 27.5 kilowatts per rack, more than three times the average computer room. This allows for more than 3,500 2P server nodes, 12,000 large form factor hard drives or a combination of the two. All told, the server and storage systems in these 350 square foot containers provide the compute power of a typical 4,000 square foot data center, and can sustain 12 petabytes of dense data.

“We deliver a ton of capacity and efficiency in a very small space, plus extremely high energy efficiency,” Cumings explains. “We have complete control of the airflow within the POD and full separation between hot and cold aisles, and the maximum distance cold air has to travel is about 20 feet. While the average data center has a PUE [Power Usage Efficiency] of around 2.0, PODs are below 1.25 PUE.”

HP PODs are also highly customizable. With industry standard racks that support heterogeneous systems, they can be outfitted with a wide variety of server and storage equipment. The systems and support for HP PODs can be as little or as extensive as desired by the customer.

“There are other container-based solutions on the market,” says Cumings, “but many are constrained to that vendor’s homogeneous IT systems—forcing the customer to adapt to the container. We took the opposite approach and made sure our PODs would support full-depth, 19-inch racks. This allows us to customize each POD with a combination of HP and third party solutions to match a customer’s environment or address specific requirements.”

HP also offers design services and ongoing support, Cumings adds, as needed by the customer. Regardless of the particular systems and support selected, HP PODs are fully assembled, integrated, configured and tested in the factory. When a POD arrives on site, customers need only connect it to power and water sources for energy and cooling.

Speed of deployment and cost savings
Perhaps the greatest benefit of HP PODs is the remarkable speed of deployment. While many data center expansion projects can take years, a POD can be shipped in a staggering six weeks after order in North America. Global orders can be shipped in a mere 12 weeks.

“We can assemble, test and ship the PODs in a matter of weeks, so some companies are considering using them as a temporary data center while their new computer room is built,” says Cumings. “And because PODs can be moved, we’re also getting a lot of interest from organizations seeking affordable, portable disaster recovery. As one customer pointed out, this becomes a huge benefit when a hurricane is in the forecast.”

HP offers detailed TCO models that compare the cost differences between brick-and-mortar data centers and PODs. In almost all instances, PODs are significantly less expensive to purchase and operate than traditional computer rooms.

“The TCO models are helpful for evaluating typical acquisition and operational costs,” says Cumings, “but we also apply them to an organization’s actual costs. So we can provide an exact comparison of a company’s current data center expenses versus their potential use of an HP POD. In most cases, the cost advantages are apparent immediately.”

Related link

» HP Performance Optimized Data Center

Table of contents


» Teaming up to slash costs, complexity


» Consolidating SQL Server infrastructure
» Rethinking networking virtualization
» Taking control of enterprise databases
» High density, low cost storage
» Data center capabilities in six weeks
» Low bandwidth, low cost data replication


» Blades deliver power and capacity
» Compute power without the cost
» Saving and simplifying with blades
» Meeting client SLAs and saving money


» Realizing value from services
» Achieving the real value of services
» Transform with training for ITSM
» Modernizing the call center
» Open discussion about transformation
» Engineering for differentiated availability
» Mitigate downtime with a strategic approach
» Services go beyond break fix
» Achieving energy savings in the data center
» Feedback
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