By David Strom  |  Posted 2008-03-24 Print this article Print

Wouldn’t it be great to model what you need to do in a data center, before you actually have to bring servers down and remodel? The Strominator visits one that allows you to do just that.


But not everyone can just take a former parking lot and erect a new building to serve modern needs. Some IT shops have to do a fair amount of retrofitting, and that’s where the St. Louis test bed comes in handy.

Firms can build racks and lay them out on the floor, and try out different scenarios to measure airflow, power consumption, and temperature gradients for their gear. There are also two huge temperature controlled testing rooms that can rapidly heat or cool down and be used to see what happens to particular gear.

I am glad that the company picked St. Louis to build their facility, because being the data center groupie that I am, I hope to visit often and get to see what they are doing with their customers. Plus, it is a really neat looking building that also serves as a showroom for some of the company’s product lines.

Schneider bought APC earlier this year, and has merged them with their MGE division, which sells electric power control equipment. While most of us know APC from their battery backup boxes, they also make large-scale rack power and cooling gear that are designed for data center use. This is the stuff that Sun used in its remodel.

Schneider's push has been to isolate airflow just around the immediate vicinity of the racks, so you are cooling the smallest air volumes and reducing the amount of power for these cooling needs.

This has lots of appeal, particularly lately, when everyone is going green and as oil prices continue to reach new highs.

The Schneider facility has 7 MW of power supplied by the local utility, which is enough to power a reasonable suburb. Ironically, the Schneider facility is located in between two massive data centers of Mastercard and Citibank, just the other side of the Missouri River from where one of the worst floods happened about 15 years ago (we got another flood happening about 30 miles away this past week).

Don’t worry – all three are on high ground and have plenty of backup resources too.

If you are looking at a data center remodel, keep this place in mind. The daily rental fee starts at $5,000, depending on customer needs.


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