Green ideas from Cisco’s new data centre

| April 19, 2011

Cisco has opened a new data centre in Allen, Texas that features some innovative ideas on energy efficiency and reliability on top of the conventional green IT methodologies. The tier 3 facility offers 38,000 sq. ft. of hosting area and is powered by redundant 10 MW feeds providing 5.25 MW of capacity for IT.

In a post on Cisco’s Data Centre Deconstruct! blog, Douglas Alger highlights three distinct features that are now over and above what green data centre have today.

First is something called active-active configuration, which links the new facility with an existing site in Richardson, Texas, “so each facility is a primary data centre that also serves as a secondary facility for the other.” The concept, and the paired facilities,  is what Cisco calls a Metro Virtual Data Centre. According to Alger, Cisco is so impressed with the model that it is now looking to deploy similar pairs in other “theatres.”

Not all the features are ground breaking models however. A very simple green innovation put in place at the new facility involves putting chimneys on the server cabinets that funnel away hot air generated by the hardware into a plenum space, thus preventing it from mixing with incoming chilled air – basically a more granular implementation of the hot-cold-aisle concept.

The third is idea highlighted by Alger is much less conventional, and involves something called, a rotary UPS. Instead of putting in banks of batteries to fall back on in the event of a power outage, the new facility will be built with a “large, spnning flywheel,” whose “kinetic energy will supply several seconds of ride-through power, long enough to transfer the data centre’s electrical load to standby generators.”

All this just goes to show that there’s plenty of innovation left when it comes to making data centres more power friendly.

Cisco’s post: Cisco Blog » Blog Archive » Data Center Constructed!.

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