Reality Check: Server Insights
Get HP server news, technology trends, and product information to stay up to date with what is happening in the server world.

The HP EcoPOD: There's just no comparison!

Greetings from HP Discover in Las Vegas!  As you know, we just announced the HP POD 240a so I wanted to tell you about some of the great innovations we include in this latest iteration of HP technology!


Our goal with the HP POD 240a or “EcoPod” as we like to call it, was to take the performance and features you have grown to expect with HP POD technology to the next level by providing Tier 3 level datacenter performance that is more economical, energy efficient and much easier to deploy than traditional brick and mortar data centers.  I think we have more than accomplished all of those goals! 


Let’s first talk about what we thought about while creating those new innovations.  As you know, IT is rapidly changing putting a huge burden on power and cooling requirements for traditional datacenter deployments.  The IT changes come in the form of increased compute performance and storage capacity dramatically increasing the compute density per square foot.  I get asked this question a lot, “Ron, what is causing all of these compute and storage density increases?” and the answer is…it is us!  We want more information at our finger tips requiring more storage capacity, we want faster download of content such as video and audio.  This all requires more IT compute and storage!  The other question I get asked about is “why so much available density in the HP POD?”  That answer is simply that when you optimize all of the critical parameters needed for the lowest PUE; power, cooling and compute, there is no reason why you cannot optimize the IT density at the rack level to its full extent as well (up to 44kw/rack).  The reason you see IT loads spread out in traditional datacenters at lower rack densities (typically around 3-7KW/rack) is because the facilities infrastructure cannot support anything higher.  In the HP POD this constraint is not present so we can scale your IT to the level you need to meet your compute requirements.  In short, we are giving you the empowerment to deploy the IT you need, when you need it, and at the level of density you need all optimized for the best performance, cost and best PUE! 


HP EcoPODNow let’s talk about those innovations.  First, let’s talk about modularity, one of the key elements we wanted to put into the HP POD 240a is to continue modularity and simplicity that the HP POD architecture provides.  We achieved this by providing basic POD design building blocks inclusive of the following key modules:


  • Two cold aisle modules containing the compute elements
  • A center hot aisle module that connects the two cold aisle modules
  • DX cooling systems mounted on the roof to provide for cooling when free air conditions are not optimal.

Those are the basic building blocks of the EcoPOD.  You combine that with HP factory integration via Factory Express for the IT and HP POD-Works for the POD and wow a complete Tier 3 datacenter that is plug and play!

And here is the best part, about 3 months from initial order to deployment!  Compare that against traditional brick and mortar of ~ 2 years from start to finish; well… there just is no comparison.


Next let’s discuss how we achieve that great PUE of 1.05 to 1.30.  What we have designed is what we call HP Adaptive Cooling Technology that adjusts to the external environmental conditions surrounding the POD.  This creates 3 basic modes of operation; free air cooling when conditions are optimal  for using only outside air (typically between 58 and 87 degrees F), this provides you the lowest PUE, next is what we call DX assist where the external environment has fallen outside of the optimal parameters of operation and needs “assistance” from the cooling units.  This is the next highest PUE of ~1.15.  Last is what we call full DX mode when you are operating in a completely closed loop environment with the DX systems providing all of the cooling for a PUE of ~1.30.  Yes, it is the highest PUE but to put it into perspective, a traditional brick and mortar data center typically operates at 2.0 or higher!  How do we maintain those great PUE numbers?  Keep in mind that we are in a completely closed loop environment with closely controlled power and cooling directly tied to the IT, which means we are providing just the right amount of power and cooling that the IT requires (no more, no less) so we are not wasting anything!


We have talked about the main hardware aspects, now let’s discuss the management.  Management is a key component of the 240a design providing not only closely coupled operation between the IT and the POD environment with the HP POD management system but also how the POD interfaces with the outside world with either Modbus or TCP/IP providing seamless integration with your current facilities and IT infrastructure environments.   


Last, combine this with optional features such as fire suppression, POD security, ability to utilize different AC power voltages for the IT, multiple IT UPS back-up solutions, and the ability to scale as needed to meet your exact requirements to optimize your capex and opex costs and you have a complete end to end compute solution that cannot be matched in the industry!


The HP EcoPOD is available in limited quantities to select early-adopter clients today. Broad availability is scheduled at the end of 2011 in North America, followed by Europe and Asia.  You can go to to find more information including a pretty interesting 3D interactive tour. 


For more information on the high-performance, energy-efficient alternative to traditional data centers at a fraction of the cost read Delivering the ultimate in modular data center efficiency. HP can address your current needs as well as your needs as they evolve – we are your source for Instant-On Solutions.


Stay tuned for additional updates and commentary over the next few days. 


Ronn Mann

Director of Engineering, Data Center

MySchizoBuddy | ‎06-09-2011 05:14 PM

How would you connect these pods for a Supercomputer?

wayne winkler | ‎09-30-2012 06:48 PM

where does the electrical power come from to drive the ecopod--

are you interested in a mobile green energy generator??

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
About the Author

Follow Us
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.