If you are going to be pushing your datacenter vision out to corporate America and expect to have any credibility, it is important that you be running your own business on the infrastructure that you are selling. With the opening of their new Allen, TX datacenter, Cisco is doing just that, rolling out a new green datacenter that is operating on the full portfolio of Cisco datacenter hardware and software.
From 100 KW of solar cells generating power on the roof (for use by the offices, not the datacenter hardware) to the plans to use ambient fresh air to reduce cooling costs, Cisco has attempted to at least touch all the bases in the current green datacenter model. But with an eye towards practicality, the expected PUE of this new facility is only 1.35.
This isn't a bad number, but with every new facility in the datacenter business trying to post PUE ratings of as close to 1.0 as possible, it is nice to see a realistic rating target from a major vendor. With aspects to the calculation such as the use of outside air, Cisco can only factor in average local temperatures, though they expect to be able to use outside air cooling at least 65% of the time. If Cisco is able to generate a better PUE after running the facility for an extended period, I'm certain they will make sure the media and their customers are aware of the improvement over the projected rating.
The data center is also one half of what Cisco describes as a metro Virtual Data center. It is paired with a datacenter in Richardson, TX to deliver IT cloud services that span the two facilities and offer the advantages of redundancy for increased uptime and disaster recovery planning.
I'm sure that Cisco will be making the most of the facility as a showcase for their Unified Computing infrastructure model, which will allow them to give potential customers a more one to one pitch when comparing their converged computing alternative to those offered by other vendors, or, more specifically, HP.