Cisco details green datacentre

Cisco has unveiled a new, environmentally-conscious datacentre, designed to demonstrate the value of having a homogenised network hardware stack.The Allen, Texas-based facility, announced on Friday, uses Cisco's Unified Fabric, Unified Computing and Unified Networking services hardware to create a homogenous network backbone.

Cisco has unveiled a new, environmentally-conscious datacentre, designed to demonstrate the value of having a homogenised network hardware stack.

The Allen, Texas-based facility, announced on Friday, uses Cisco's Unified Fabric, Unified Computing and Unified Networking services hardware to create a homogenous network backbone. Additional hardware and software comes from Cisco's partners EMC, NetApp and VMware.

It has a PUE score of 1.35. PUE expresses the proportion of power that is used to run non-IT hardware, so a PUE of 1.35 means that for every unit of power spent on the IT equipment, .35 units are spent on power, cooling and other supporting infrastructure.

This score reflects a more expensive use of power, as a higher proportion goes on non-revenue generating hardware, than in other modern, efficient datacentres. By comparison, a two-year-old facility that processes data for the oil and gas sector has a PUE figure of 1.12, a recent Colt modular co-location facility has 1.21 and Google operates a fleet with PUEs of between 1.10 and 1.21.

Cooling in the Cisco datacentre is delivered via a mixture of free and mechanical methods, as the relatively hot southern state limits the use of 'free' outside air to 65 percent of the time.

Power-wise, the facility takes down 5MW but has the ability to scale up to 10. The facility's office spaces are powered by solar panels.

Update: The datacentre has around 38,000 square feet of IT floor space containing between 800 and 1,000 racks, James Cribari, director of Cisco's global datacentre program told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

Besides the solar panels, Cisco has also made a couple of further design choices to increase its green credentials, notably by replacing the facility's universal power supply with flywheels, instead of more carbon-intensive batteries, and by using overhead cabling rather than under-rack.

"There is an argument in the industry that implementing a computer-accessed floor in this day and age is non-environmentally friendly," Cribari said. "This is a [datacentre] design that we have evolved to and expect to improve upon."

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