The Healthy Earth Ambition

 
 
By Alison Diana  |  Posted 2008-07-30
 
 
 

Hardware vendors are pushing the power envelope, creating data centers to showcase their products’ energy efficiencies—and cutting their own consumption amps and costs.

Sun Microsystems used a modular approach and consolidated hardware—focused on new approaches to cabling, power and cooling options—when designing its energy-efficient data center in Santa Clara, Calif.

Sun cut its utility bill by more than 60 percent and earned more than $1 million in government rebates, according to the vendor. The Tier I data center boosted Sun’s bottom line, while conserving energy and reducing real-estate needs, reports Dean Nelson, director of Global Lab and Datacenter Design Services at Sun.

Using newer Sun equipment to replace older server and storage solutions, the vendor compressed 152 data centers, or 202,000 square feet, into 14 high-density centers in 76,000 square feet—a reduction of about 88 percent in server and storage footprint, more than a 450 percent enhancement of server computing performance and a 244 percent increase in its storage capacity, Nelson says. In addition, Sun saved $9 million in construction, infrastructure and power costs, the company estimates, and projects that the Newark, N.J., and Santa Clara data centers will show a 100 percent return on investment within three years.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, opened a data center designed to achieve a 1.6 power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating by the Green Grid, described as the lowest power-usage index of any high-tier data center, according to HDS. The Yokohama, Japan, data center should reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent and cut IT management costs. The center uses thermal hydraulic cooling equipment, uninterruptible power supply systems, and advanced power supply converters to decrease power, cooling and space needs.

The Tier IV data center was also designed to withstand Category 4 or Category 5 hurricanes and earthquakes, says Hu Yoshida, chief technology officer at HDS. “Hitachi is aiming at 1.6 PUE for this data center, which is very ambitious for a Tier IV data center,” he says.

“Hitachi’s focus on data centers started in about 1989, in terms of trying to be more efficient,” says Yoshida. “In 1999, it started a corporatewide program to be more ecologically friendly. It adopted a process to evaluate all its products to ensure that each subsequent product would be more eco-friendly than the prior one.

“Hitachi makes power and cooling systems, and power distribution systems, so it builds these centers itself. [It hopes] to use them as showcases to sell [Hitachi] solutions into other parts of the world.”