HP today unveiled a host of new services aimed at helping small data centre operators boost performance and cut operating costs. Aimed at data centres up to 5,000 square feet in size, these facilities-oriented services include capacity, infrastructure condition and energy efficiency analysis.

Small businesses with modestly sized data centres face challenges similar to those of their enterprise-sized brethren, such as rising operating costs, inefficient infrastructure, limited floor space and insufficient available power. HP's new services are intended to help address these issues, though with specific small-business-oriented challenges, and budgets, in mind.

A small business with rapidly growing computing demands is more likely to bump up against space and power limitations than a company that owns a large data centre space. "Historically what we've seen is that smaller data centres tend to run a lot closer to the edge in terms of capacity," said Bill Kosik, principal of green data center technology for HP.

Additionally, whereas large data centres tend to be located in standalone buildings with their own power delivery and cooling systems, small data centres are often housed in office buildings alongside other tenants, with shared resources. Finally, the ROI for certain infrastructure upgrades, such as a new electrical or cooling system, doesn't necessarily scale as well in a small data centre as it would in a larger facility.

HP is announcing three services, all under the Small Footprint Assessment moniker. Through its Basic Capacity Analysis assessment, HP measures a data centre's quantative power and cooling capacity, compared to its computing capacity, and helps operators allocate infrastructure resources more effectively. The service helps to determine whether a facility's existing infrastructure can support current or future capacity needs.

The Infrastructure Condition and Capacity Analysis provides a data center health check, identifying aged and inferior infrastructure and potential single points of failure. "We look at what are some of the different risks in a facility's existing infrastructure, problems that could affect the data centre's ability to stay alive," said Kosik.

Finally, the Energy Efficiency Analysis is aimed at drilling down into the energy efficiency of a data centre's power and cooling equipment. The process entails taking detailed power measurements with meters.

These new services do not directly address IT solutions to boosting efficiency, such as virtualisation, thin provisioning and the like. As noted by Kosik, a solution that reduces the number of servers or the amount of storage gear that a data centre uses can directly lower the amount of power and cooling infrastructure the company has to run. In other words, gains realised through more efficient use of IT can be exponential.