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IBM takes the guesswork out of data centre fires

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Buying tons of rack and blade servers has been a harrowing experience for plenty of customers. You load up a data centre with the compact kit and then cross your fingers, hoping the mesh of metal, plastic and cabling doesn't catch on fire.

Now, instead of crossing your fingers, you can pay IBM to predict whether or not your data centre will light up faster than a Dell laptop.

IBM this week started hawking a variety of services meant to help customers design cooler, more environmentally-friendly data centres.

Like rivals HP and Sun Microsystems, IBM hopes to cash in on the current concerns around power consumption and heat in data centres.

The services on offer from IBM centre around judging a data centre's capacity for handling lots of thin rack and blade servers, improving the air flow of a data centre, fixing rack designs, cutting back on the number of data centres you own, and crafting data centres for SMBs out of so-called "modular building blocks".

Fixing data centres has become all the rage after vendors spent years shipping thousands of red-hot systems to customers. Neither the vendors nor the customers placed much emphasis on energy versus equipment costs.

In recent months, however, energy costs have surged and chips from companies such as Intel have consumed more and more power. As a result, the cost of powering and cooling servers next year is expected to outpace the amount spent on new gear for the first time.

IBM has provided more detail on its individual data centre cooling/construction services here. ®

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