Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest HPC news and analysis.

Big Blue builds a big green datacenter with Syracuse

Late last week IBM announced it had entered an agreement with Syracuse University to build a new green datacenter through technologies gathered together under its “Smarter Planet” initiative

IBM logoIBM, Syracuse University and New York State have entered into a multiyear agreement to build and operate a new computer data center on the University’s campus that will incorporate advanced infrastructure and smarter computing technologies to make it one of the most energy-efficient data centers in the world. The data center is expected to use 50 percent less energy than a typical data center today, making it one of the “greenest” computer centers in operation.

…The $12.4 million, 6,000-square-foot data center will feature its own electrical tri-generation system and incorporate IBM’s latest energy-efficient computers and computer-cooling technology. SU will manage and analyze the performance of the center, as well as research and develop new data center energy efficiency analysis and modeling tools. IBM will provide more than $5 million in equipment, design services and support, which includes supplying the electrical cogeneration equipment and servers such as IBM BladeCenter, IBM Power 575 and an IBM z10 systems. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is contributing $2 million to the project.

There are several innovations here, in addition to the research aspects in reaching SU’s goals of reducing energy use by 50%

The project will feature an on-site electrical tri-generation system that will use an array of natural gas-fueled microturbines to generate all the necessary electricity for the center and provide cooling for the computer servers. The data center will be able to operate completely off-grid.

IBM and SU will create a liquid cooling system that will use double-effect absorption chillers to convert the exhaust heat from the microturbines into chilled water to cool the data center’s servers, with sufficient excess cooling to handle the needs of an adjacent building. Server racks will incorporate IBM’s Rear Door Heat eXchanger “cooling doors” that use chilled water to remove heat from each rack far more efficiently than conventional room-chilling methods. Sensors will monitor server temperatures and usage to tailor the amount of cooling delivered by each Rear Door Heat eXchanger–further improving efficiency.

The project also will include the creation of a direct current (DC) power distribution system. In a typical data center, alternating current (AC) electricity is delivered by a central power plant through the local utility’s electric grid and then converted to DC to power the servers. This conversion process results in power loss. By directly generating DC power on-site, transmission and conversion losses are eliminated.

Much more in the release; it is quite comprehensive.

Resource Links: