Inside Capgemini's free-cooled datacentre

Inside Capgemini's free-cooled datacentre

Summary: ZDNet UK has toured Merlin, Capgemini's sustainable, modular, energy-efficient 10,000-square-foot datacentre that has plans to be scaled up to three times that capacity

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TOPICS: Networking
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  • Capgemini's Merlin datacentre is housed within an old 86,000-square-foot warehouse in Swindon. Made up of four modules that add up to a total datacentre area of 10,000 square feet, the facility can be expanded to a maximum of 12 modules. IT consulting and services provider Capgemini is aiming for the facility to be fully occupied handling IT outsourcing work by June 2011.

    The company "wanted modularity right from the start, rather than fixing ourselves to another monolithic building", said Paul Anderson, the programme director for infrastructure outsourcing at Capgemini. From the start, it saw the warehouse as a good shell to use for a self-contained, modular datacentre, he added.

    The facility has a load-tested power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.1. PUE expresses the proportion of power that must be expended to support the IT infrastructure, versus the power that actually runs the racks, servers, network equipment and other essential components of the datacentre. A PUE rating of 1.1 means that only 10 percent of the total facility's power goes on the support infrastructure, with the rest going on the equipment.

    "On this first phase of 10,000 square feet we have invested £12m. However, the overall investment will be in the region of £28m to bring online the other eight modules, giving a total technical floor capacity of 30,000 square feet," Anderson told ZDNet UK.

  • The facility is currently certified to Impact Level 3, a government-set security standard for facilities that store data. This requires a huge level of perimeter security. At Merlin, when modules or equipment are brought inside the facility, they are unloaded into a cage (pictured), where they are screened prior to installation.

  • The electrical equipment, fire systems and associated IT infrastructure at Merlin (pictured at top) are carried 18 feet above ground level. This was part of Capgemini's strategy for minimising the carbon expended during construction of the facility, according to Anderson.

    By not placing the support infrastructure underneath an artificial floor, it is easier for Capgemini to install new modules and to maintain existing equipment, he said.

Topic: Networking

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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