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IBM's 'Cool Blue' looks to help servers chill out

Cooling gadget for data centers is designed to extend the abilities of existing air conditioning systems while saving space, money.

IBM released on Tuesday a cooling gadget for data centers that's designed to extend the abilities of existing air conditioning systems while saving space and money.

IBM's Cool Blue cooling system add-on
Credit: IBM
Hoses attach to a back door on a server
rack, circulating chilled water and carrying
away heat.
The company's "Cool Blue" component (officially known as the IBM eServer Rear Door Heat eXchanger) draws on the supply of chilled water produced by a standard data-center cooling setup. Every minute, the system circulates 8 to 10 gallons of the water through a 4-inch thick back door on a server rack, carrying away heat.

The component, IBM says, lets companies cool additional servers without having to install more floor-space-hogging, and pricey, air conditioning systems.

The Heat eXchanger can remove up to 55 percent of the heat generated in a fully populated rack and then take it out of the data center, IBM said. Big Blue boasts that the product can remove up to 50,000 BTU (thermal units) of heat generated by a full server rack.

Cool Blue is designed to fit on to IBM eServer-class enterprise racks, but the company said the technology can help cool off heat issues caused by other servers in the data center as well.

Prices start at $4,299 in the United States, as a standalone product. The Heat eXchanger can also be purchased as part of IBM's eServer Cluster 1350, with prices depending on the configuration.