How do you cool today’s modern data centers, running increasingly high density and high performance equipment built to manage exploding amounts of enterprise data? This presents a substantial cooling challenge for data center managers. Fortunately, we at Dell IT have found a way to take the heat off of such cooling demands.
After many months of careful experimentation, we recently determined that using a cold aisle containment approach in our Durham, N.C, data center, we can safely maintain our equipment at 78 degrees F. This is six degrees warmer than the original design threshold of 72 degrees F. The increase means we can now leverage free-air cooling—air circulated from outside rather than mechanically cooled air—in our data center 80 percent of the time instead of 60 percent. (Think of it as opening a window in your house rather than running the air conditioner.) This will cut our cooling costs by 25 percent.
EMC IT is innovating and developing new IT solutions that not only meet our internal customers’ growing data and IT demands but also help us drive improved space utilization and energy efficiencies in our modern data centers.
For example, in our regional data center in Cork, Ireland we used “hot aisle containment” technology to decrease machine energy consumption by 24 percent. In our Hopkinton Data Center, we increased space efficiency and reduced power consumption to extend the facility’s life by five years. And leveraging IT’s own business analytics tools, we were able to apply predictive and deeper analytics into application and device power usage—to drive further efficiencies.
Read more about our Efficient Data Centers and how they further EMC’s commitment to sustainability in EMC’s 2015 Sustainability Report.
From adapting energy use to maximizing data consolidation, Big Data (BD) analytics has taken the guesswork out of optimizing the modern data center.
More than ever, the modern data center is a living, changing environment, with new technologies coming in, old technologies being cycled out, and evolving energy efficiency strategies to keep it all humming. We have to make sure we have the space and power to install the latest technology, while we still have the old equipment in place.
Up until recently, orchestrating this shifting ecosystem was only partially data-driven and the rest was based on gauging changing needs from past experience. At EMC IT—like most IT organizations—we had long tracked metrics on our data center facilities, including space, power, cooling, humidity, temperature, etc. And we collected storage data—server utilization, virtual machines, growth trends. But we lacked the tools to process this vast amount of data and we were never able to aggregate this information into one data base.
Today, everyone is talking about IT in the cloud, but there still has to be a physical infrastructure on the back end on which to run the cloud. Welcome to EMC’s Durham Data Center.
Our 20,000-square foot, state-of-the-art facility illustrates the most efficient way to implement the hardware your organization needs to run the cloud. It features one of the largest Vblock environments in existence. Its leading-edge green features demonstrate the savings that can be gained with a creative approach to environmental technology. And finally, our Data Center serves to showcase the full array of EMC’s products and solutions in the real world as we “drink our own champagne” in virtualizing, automating, and backing up some 12 petabytes of data.
Our virtual tour of the Durham Data Center gives you a high level understanding of how our data center works and a glimpse of EMC Cloud computing using Vblock architecture. It features purpose-built Vblocks which run our SAP-based, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and Exchange environment, as well as 100 percent tapeless backup environments built on our Data Domain and Avamar technologies. With tens of thousands of VMs in our data center, our sales staff can tap in to Durham to demonstrate products and services in a real-life lab setting.
The EMC IT Durham Cloud Data Center survived its first major run in with Mother Nature. On Saturday April 16th at least 25 tornados touched down across North Carolina making it the state’s most active tornado season on record. A tornado that traveled 63 miles through Sanford, Holly Springs and Raleigh had top winds of 160 miles per hour and caused major damage. I am happy to report that the Durham Cloud Data Center’s redundant infrastructure worked flawlessly and more importantly none of our EMC employee’s were hurt or affected by the storm.
The map shows the tracks of many of the tornados and the Durham Cloud Data Center was in the middle of all the activity.
The data center did experience a power outage but the new Flywheel UPS infrastructure and the generators kicked in (within 10 seconds of power loss) and provided uninterrupted power throughout the event.
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Designing a multimillion-dollar cloud data center from scratch—the focus of my efforts over the last year—is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
We were running out of capacity in our enterprise data center in Westborough, MA, and after considering all of the options we decided to build a new, highly efficient virtual data center located in Durham, North Carolina.
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