IBM is in the news again this week, with its announcement that it had opened what it calls "an impressive next-generation data center" in Research Triangle Park, NC. IBM says the new facility redefines how data centers are designed, constructed, and operated. The company says the data center is engineered to leverage cloud computing. I have no doubt you'll be reading more about this facility, and perhaps you will want to view the YouTube video (http://bit.ly/d0uO9q).
Facilities like this are evidence that large companies are responding to peer pressure. Companies like Google, IBM, and Microsoft increasingly announce new data center facilities but also herald the design features that make them energy efficient and green. For instance, IBM applied for LEED Gold certification, which requires the company to share information about its facilities that most companies still hold secret.
The momentum is undeniable.
That's enough editorializing about this facility, for now. Do take a moment and familiarize yourself with IBM's RTP facility; you are sure to hear more about it.
IBM started building in August 2008, and it began to support client operations within 15 months compared to the industry benchmark of 18-24 months, setting a new standard for the construction of energy-efficient data centers. Three hundred construction workers employed during the project worked 302,000 hours.
IBM is bragging about the facility's energy conservation features, its ability to rapidly scale without disruption, the flexibility to shift and adapt to the latest computing models like cloud computing, bulletproof network management, security, and redundancy. The RTP data center uses the world’s most intelligent monitoring system to continuously read temperature and relative humidity, according to IBM.
Data Center Details
• Phase 1: 60,000 sq. ft. / 6 megawatts of power. Ultimate design: 100,000 sq. ft. / 15 megawatts of power.
• More than 8,000 branch circuit monitoring points automatically monitor IT systems; more than 2,000 sensors gather temperature, pressure, humidity and air flow information from air conditioners; and more than 30,000 utility and environmental sensors interconnect with software tools.
• Modular design enables significant expansion of future capacity in half the time it would take traditional data centers to expand.
• No disruption in existing operations to scale capacity. IBM can defer up to 40 percent of capital costs, and up to 50 percent of operational costs, for the facility until client demand necessitates expansion – by adding chillers, computer room air conditioners, generators and floor space when needed.
• Supports both air- and water-cooled technologies.
• Hosts a cloud computing solution in partnership with North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and NC State University that enablesHillside New Tech High School students in Durham, NC to access educational materials and software applications for the classroom over the Internet from the high school’s computer lab, as well as from any networked device.
• Takes advantage of free cooling – using the outside air to cool the data center – for nearly half of the calendar year.
• Mechanical system design is 50 percent more efficient than one without heat exchangers for free-cooling or chillers, equating to a reduction of approximately 31,799 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
• Reflective roof reduces solar heat.
• Collects rainwater for reuse.
• 95 percent original building/shell structure reused.
• 92 percent of construction waste recycled (4,017 tons)
• 20 percent of new materials from recycled products.
• Uses low-sulfur fuels to reduce emissions from backup generators.
• Energy-efficient lighting technology on timers.
Look back in the future for more.