This represents my final post this month about green data center buildouts that have been pitched to me in the past several weeks. I actually first wrote last fall about the facility in question, Terremark Worldwide's new NAP of the Capitol Region in Culpepper, Va. The new information in this entry comes from my interview last week with Norm Laudermilch, the managing director of the facility. The site actually is slated to open "officially" on June 25, with Computer Sciences as an anchor tenant.
Many of the philosophies embraced by Terremark in the buildout of the massive, 30-acre facility are themes you'll hear elsewhere from green data center gurus: the importance of using free cooling options whenever possible and why floor layouts are critical. Laudermilch also emphasized several other design points during our discussion: 1. Rotary UPSes: According to Laudermilch, rotary UPS units that use generators require less maintenance than battery-powered counterparts, although they may require a larger upfront capital expenditure. 2. Variable-speed fans: As mentioned in the post about Savvis, this provides more flexibilty in terms of ratcheting cooling up and down. Indeed, every single motor in the new Terremark operation can operate at variable speeds, according to Laudermilch. 3. Modularity: This is a theme you'll continue to hear a lot more about. Indeed, the big three server companies are all touting both modularity (standard footprints that can help a company scale their data center more quickly) and portability (containers that can be moved from site to site as necessary). Because Terremark is building out its site gradually (the opening this week only represents this first phase), this makes sense. Plus, it makes for more predictable administrative and maintenance costs. 4. Cooling innovation: Terremark has designed cooling reserves into the site in the form of huge reservoirs on the roofs of the building. During the night hours, thermal reserves are cooled on the roof. During times of peak operation, the company can draw down on those reserves as necessary in order to cut back on its electricity consumption without running generators. The reserves can cool the facility for a couple of hours during peak operation before needing to be replenished, Laudermilch says. 5. Utility computing support: Terremark touts its Infinistructure Utility Computing platform as a strategic differentiatior on a number of fronts, including its eco-stance. According to Laudermilch, by virtualizing its equipment, Terremark can realize a 30 percent cost savings in energy usage related to its ability to eliminate redundant hardware.