University To Save £200K With Green Data Centre


IBM plans to use a modular design that targets the sources of heat and smaller uninterrupted power supplies to maximise the amount of usable power

IBM is going to use its green technology expertise to build an energy-efficient data centre for an Australian university.

Victoria University, in Melbourne, Australia, is contracting with IBM to design and build the school’s first green data centre. University officials said they hope the move will save the school $300,000 (£204,000) in power costs over the next 10 years while at the same time leaving the school able to handle the expected growth in data over the same time period.

The deal, signed in March and announced this week, will also enable the university to create what IBM officials say will be a single logical data centre across two physical sites.

Victoria University has more than 45,000 students spread out over 11 campuses, said Stephen Weller, the school’s pro vice chancellor of students.

“The data centre is critical to supplying educational services to all our students, as well as supporting the university’s administrative functions,” Weller said in a statement. “With the rapid growth in data, we needed to make sure that we stay ahead of the game, and so acquired a design and solution that would cater for our data center needs for the next 10 years—including increased power, cooling, space and floor load capacity.”

IBM officials said they will use a modular design approach, which will ease start-up energy demands on the existing site’s electrical supply.

IBM will use an in-row cooling solution that targets the cooling at the sources generating the heat, as well as a free-cooling chiller. IBM also will use smaller UPS (uninterruptible power supply) modules to optimise the amount of usable power and increase the efficiency of the UPS. The goal is to offer energy cost savings and eliminate hot spots within the facility.

Overall, IBM’s design will consume up to 45 percent less power than a conventional data centre and could save more than 300,000 kilowatts of energy every year.

“The IBM solution includes a high level of reliability, as the power and cooling systems have been designed for high availability and scalability with little or no downtime,” Malcolm Mackay, an executive with IBM Australia’s Site and Facilities Services group, said in a statement. “Furthermore, the solution will help the university avoid more than 230 metric tons of CO2 carbon emissions per year.”

IBM and its rivals in the data centre technology space are making energy efficiency a key part of their efforts. IBM two years ago rolled out Project Big Green, in which IBM pledged $1 billion (£680m) to improve the energy efficiency of its products, and includes a five-step program officials say will help data center administrators reduce energy consumption and turn the facilities into green data centers. Using these steps, an average data center could save about 42 percent in energy costs a year, IBM claimed.

IBM in June 2008 opened its own data centre in Boulder, Colorado., calling it the greenest in the United States.

Click to read the authors bio  Click to hide the authors bio