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Egenera And Emerson Team On Cool Blades

CoolFrame system is designed to reduce the heat generated by high-density blade server installations.

Server blades are one of the hottest technologies to hit the enterprise in the past few years – literally – and blade specialist Egenera Inc. and cooling specialist Emerson Network Power on Tuesday announced a collaborative effort aimed at accelerating blade performance while simultaneously addressing growing concerns for reducing heat inside the datacenter.

The companies introduced the CoolFrame system, which integrates Emerson's Liebert XD cooling technology with Egenera's BladeFrame EX blade server system, which was also unveiled on Tuesday. The CoolFrame platform enables customers to deploy the high-density blade server system while adding virtually no heat to their facilities, says Steve Madara, VP and general manager of the environmental business unit at Emerson.

Adding CoolFrame to a BladeFrame EX reduces the heat dissipation of a rack from as much as 20,000 watts to a maximum of 1,500 watts without impacting the server's performance, Madara says. At full capacity, CoolFrame can enable a 23% reduction in datacenter cooling energy costs.

Server blades are the fastest growing segment of the server market, in great part due to the ability to consolidate server sprawl inside a datacenter by putting larger numbers of blades inside a chassis than possible with traditional rack-mounted servers. As the density increases, however, the amount of heat produced by the servers and associated processor cores also increases.

The CoolFrame platform addresses the issue by placing the Liebert XD waterless cooling platform at the rack level, Madara says. The Liebert cooling module connects directly to the back of the Egenera blade server chassis, "allowing IT departments to fill their datacenters with equipment without having to dismantle installed systems, and without increasing the overall footprint," says Dan Busby, director of product design at Egenera.

Because the Egenera platform is designed without wiring and cabling in the rear of the chassis, creation of the CoolFrame technology was simplified, Madara says, although Emerson will consider providing specific products in the future to address cooling needs for other blade server manufacturers like IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

The CoolFrame platform is scheduled for availability in the second quarter.

The BladeFrame EX is Egenera's third generation blade server and delivers twice the performance of the company's current product line at the same price, says Susan Davis, VP of marketing and product management at Egenera. The new product line is forward and backward compatible, allowing customers to mix and match existing and new blades, she says.

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