Report Praises Green Credentials Of eBay’s Arizona Data Centre

Data centre achieves “new levels of energy efficiency”, according to a study by the Green Grid

A case study conducted by Green Grid, a collaborative organisation that aims to improve resource efficiency in the IT industry, has touted eBay’s recently completed Arizona data centre as one of the greenest ever constructed.

The desert-based centre, named “Project Mercury”, used Green Grid’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric and Data Centre Maturity Model (DCMM) during design and building, and consequently boasts high efficiency in a warm climate.

Unprecedented efficiency

The Green Grid reports that eBay’s approach of using industry best practices during construction was exemplary in increasing data centre efficiency. Researchers, during a week in January, recorded a PUE ratio of 1.35 on average across the facility. A partial PUE of 1.018 was also recorded in a rooftop containerised data centre unit during the same time period. This means that roughly 98 per cent of available power can be used at peak efficiency.

eBay noted that in August, 2011, with an outside temperature of 46°C (115°F), the 20-rack roof container measured a ratio as low as 1.046, demonstrating the centre’s green credentials even in hot weather.

“We needed to meet an organisational demand to consolidate data centres and deploy tens of thousands of new servers in under six months,” said Dean Nelson, senior director of global foundation services at eBay, in a statement.

“As part of that process, we wanted to push the envelope in terms of what had been achieved in data centre efficiency to date. eBay was able to achieve both goals because we took a metrics-based approach to the process, which included ensuring that our server and data centre RFP [Request for Proposal] processes used PUE and TCO [Total Cost of Ownership] to optimise our supply chain – taking a modular, scalable, and forward-thinking data centre design – and aligning ourselves with the Green Grid’s DCMM from the beginning.”

Part of eBay’s approach in achieving high efficiency was to use a hot-water cooling system that only uses the traditional chiller operation a few days in any year. Additionally, the data centre has a high server density and a set of server designs which balance space, cooling, cabling, power and weight configurations. The overall design is scalable and modular, which eBay claims will allow it to handle up to five generations of future technologies.