Hewlett-Packard unveils new green server partnership

Hosted "Windy" servers convert hot air into CPU cycles for small and midsize businesses

Editor's note: The following story is from InfoWorld's 2008 April Fool’s spoof-news feature package. It is not true. Enjoy!

Corporate IT managers keeping an eye on the bottom line now have a new, environmentally friendly option for the datacenter. The Hewlett-Packard EcoLiant GL Blade Server is the first energy-friendly solution to harness wind power.

The all-in-one "Windy" is designed for small to midsize businesses, addressing the typical range of needs, including Web, database, file, and print serving. However, the blade server doesn't live in the business's server room. Instead, in a one-of-a-kind arrangement, customers will purchase Windy and then stipulate which American consulting group they would like to host the box blade server.

"We asked ourselves, 'How could we possibly use wind power to generate the energy that a typical business server needs?'" said HP senior scientist P.K. Krishnamurthy. "Then it hit us: Let the machine run off the hot air generated in conference rooms all over the country."

Hewlett-Packard then approached several U.S. consulting firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, BearingPoint, Accenture, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. The companies quickly worked out an arrangement: HP would install its Windys in conference rooms and pay a modest annual rent to the consulting companies, bundling the rental charges into the overall price package for Windy customers. For an additional fee, someone at the consulting firm will pick up the phone and say, "I dunno … all the lights are still blinking," if there's a service outage.

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"We think this early response will really assuage customer concerns about off-site server services," Krishnamurthy said. "Besides, may I remind you all, it's not like every office in America has conference rooms that are packed from sunup to sundown with meetings."

The management firms listed above refused to go on the record to comment about the new business arrangement. However, an anonymous source said, "It'll be great. You just know all the managing partners are going to ban PowerPoint presentations, so we'll have to talk more. More wind means more servers means more money."

If Windy takes flight with small and midsize businesses, it could open the door to even smaller models meant for on-site use.

"Our dream is to one day create a blade server that's small enough to sit on your boss's desk and run off one meeting a day," said Krishnamurthy.

Raymond James analyst Murray Rogan thinks HP's plan to colonize a new sector of off-site services with an environmentally conscious flair could lead to big sales for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.

"But I think what Dell is working on could be even more lucrative," he suggested. "It's a keyboard that translates the kinetic energy from IM and texting into electricity."