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Dell encourages solution providers to think 'chiller-less'

Dell is encouraging solutions that represent its server technologies to pick up the rallying cry for its new “chiller-less” data center design philosophy.

That philosophy centers on Dell’s new Fresh Air technology. The servers, storage, networking and power infrastructure products that have been validated under this approach are able to operate at higher ambient temperatures and wider humidity ranges than one would typically associate with enterprise IT equipment. Specifically, the technologies are “robust” enough to tolerate up to 900 hours of operation at up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit each year and up to 90 hours at 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually the limit is considered to be 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The allowable humidity range for the equipment is 5 percent to 90 percent.

That means, essentially, that if you use this type of Dell equipment you wouldn’t need to run the chillers as long during certain parts of the year. I’m sure this philosophy is being tested to the extreme right now in Texas, where it has been brutally brutally hot and dry.

In any event, I was invited to a brief phone call this week about this philosophy — although I already knew about it by virtue of all the writing I do for my GreenTech Pastures blog.

The Dell team is seeking to make sure that all of its server-certified solution providers are aware of the approach, as it could be a point of differentiation in selling total data center solutions, said Rich Percaccio, enterprise marketing manager, global commercial channel, Dell. How so? Dell figures that focusing on how to help a company use less — and even no — chiller technology can result in operational savings of up to $100,000 per megawatt of IT.

“Our channel partners could really make this a point of differentiation. We want our channel partners to be able to bring this message strongly,” Percaccio said during a briefing. There isn’t a special certification for Fresh Air, but over time the philosophy will be incorporated more deeply into the existing credential process.

There is also something else to keep in mind: If a company already has invested in chiller technology, this isn’t a message that is likely to have impact. Dell is encouraging solution providers to focus their evangelism on greenfield IT infrastructure opportunities. One other thing to note, though, on this front: this conversation won’t necessary work with the IT department alone at customer prospects, you’ll need to get the facilities team involve in order for the total cost of ownership implications will resonate.

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