You might not think that a 12,000 square foot data center would be anything for the environmental lobby to get excited about, but this is no ordinary IT facility. The Green Data Center (GDC) has been built by Syracuse University in partnership with New York State and IBM in order to showcase some world-class innovations in the field of advanced energy efficient IT systems construction.
Having taken just six months to construct, just how energy efficient is this $12.4 million facility? Well, thanks to the innovative on-site power generation system for electricity, heating and cooling, along with some snazzy energy-efficient servers, computer-cooling technology and system management software from IBM, it is claimed that the Green Data Center will use 50% less energy than the average data center.
The Syracuse University GDC features an on-site electrical tri-generation system that uses natural gas-fueled microturbines to generate all the electricity for the center and cooling for the computer servers. The center will be able to operate completely off-grid. IBM and Syracuse University created a liquid cooling system that uses double-effect absorption chillers to convert the exhaust heat from the microturbines into chilled water to cool the data center's servers and the cooling needs of an adjacent building. Server racks incorporate "cooling doors" that use chilled water to remove heat from each rack more efficiently than conventional room-cooling methods. Sensors will monitor server temperatures and usage to tailor the amount of cooling delivered to each server -- further improving efficiency.
Syracuse University plans to use it as its primary computing facility, but there are also plans to establish a GDC Analysis and Design Center next year which will offer research and analysis services to people who want to build new energy efficient data centers or optimize the efficiency of their current centers.
Part IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, focused on helping clients use digital intelligence to improve products or entire systems, the company has provided more than $5 million in equipment, design services and support to the GDC project, including supplying the power generation equipment, IBM BladeCenter, IBM Power 575 and IBM z10 servers, and a DS8300 storage device.
"Together, IBM and Syracuse are tackling a significant problem -- how to address the skyrocketing amount of energy used by today's data centers, which is impacting businesses and institutions of all sizes" says Vijay Lund, vice president for cross-IBM offerings in IBM's Software Group. "We looked beyond conventional wisdom and addressed the broader issues of where and how to generate the electricity, how to cool the data center and how to make the computers more effective and efficient. This unique end-to-end focus has resulted in a smarter, cost-effective, greener data center."
"The cross-sector collaboration at the center of this project epitomizes Scholarship in Action," says Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "IBM, New York State and SU have formed a community of experts, pooling our resources and talent to develop innovations that will enable greener, more cost-effective computing across the globe. Most importantly, the discoveries we make here will drive innovation that serves the public good."