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6/28/2007
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Dell To Sell Emerson-Cooled PowerEdge Rack Servers

The cooling system works like a car's radiator by passing the server's hot air over refrigerant-cooled pipes before recirculating it back into the server.

Dell on Thursday said it has agreed to offer a supplemental cooling system from Emerson Network Power with its energy-efficient PowerEdge rack servers.

The combined product is called the Dell-Liebert Energy Smart Solution, and includes Emerson's Liebert XD technology, and Advanced Micro Devices' low-power Opteron HE processors. Emerson has worked with Dell for years on cooling technology for the latter company's servers. The latest deal, however, is the first in which Dell has agreed to use its sales force to sell Emerson products, officials with both companies said at a joint news conference in San Francisco.

Emerson's supplemental cooling technology is for use on the hottest-running rack servers in a data center, sometimes referred to as "hotspots." The Liebert XD uses fans to suck hot air from the back of a rack server, and then pass it over refrigerant-cooled pipes before recirculating the air back into the server. The system can run from on top or on the side of the server. "It works very much like a radiator in a car," said Fred Stack, VP of marketing for Emerson's Liebert cooling business. "It's very, very similar."

Dell isn't the only server maker to offer liquid-cooling systems. IBM has its own patented system, and Liebert is a partner of Hewlett-Packard. The latest sales agreement, however, is exclusive to Dell, Stack said.

The early adopters of liquid-cooling systems were university research centers running supercomputers, Stack said. "It's now being embraced pretty much across the board in all industries," he said, noting that about 5% of all new rack servers are sold today with a liquid-cooling system.

Dell and Emerson claim customers of the combined products can reduce power consumption for cooling by 42%. Fully 37% of data center power consumption today goes to cooling, while about 50% is for running computer systems. By decreasing power for cooling through an Emerson product, a company can increase available energy for computers between 60% and 65%, according to the two companies.

To complement the Dell-Emerson product, Dell launched a service for assessing data center infrastructure to find ways to optimize computing capacity, reduce power usage, and shrink the footprint of current systems to add more computing power in the same facility, said David Lord, Dell spokesman for enterprise products.

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