Inside Rackspace's UK cloud datacentre

Inside Rackspace's UK cloud datacentre

Summary: The Slough-based facility is preparing to expand as the company builds its UK cloud, adopts new cooling techniques and seeks to increase efficiency


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  • Datacentre room

    The datacentre has a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.7, though Rackspace hopes to lower this to an average of 1.59 once the third data hall is built.

    Cooling is achieved via computer room air-conditioning (Crac) units that pass cold air through the underfloor plenum. The current is then lifted into the servers and expelled as hot air at the back. Unlike numerous other datacentres, the racks are not enclosed.

    "If we were to box in the cold aisle, it wouldn't give us particularly good efficiency," Gary Boyd, the datacentre operations manager for the facility, said. He explained that Rackspace's use of Crac units means the facility has the air mix in the open areas at the top of the servers. External cooling coils are used to provide cool air when the exterior temperature is below 14°C.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of ZDNet UK's datacentre tour.

  • Datacentre hall in construction

    According to Boyd, Rackspace plans to tweak its cooling approaches for the third data hall, which is in construction at the moment and due to open in August 2011.

    The new hall will aim to use free-air cooling from the outside. It will also run power via bus bars attached to overhead metal bars (pictured, top left). The company is considering enclosing the hot aisles of the servers with a plenum so that it has a tighter level of control over how much and where the hot air can mix with the cold.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of ZDNet UK's datacentre tour.

  • Diesel generators

    The facility's core infrastructure is located on the exterior of its large warehouse. It has multiple containerised diesel generators equipped with sound dampeners, which are designed to reduce noise and so meet the maximum of 70Dba required under local ordinances.

    "They come with their own acoustic packs for planning permission," Boyd said.

    Also, because integration and manufacture is done off site, it is relatively easy to install the generators on an as-needed basis, he added. This is a requirement for the company, as it expects to expand further.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of ZDNet UK's datacentre tour.

Topics: Datacentre Tour, 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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  • Great to see sound and knowledgeable providers expanding in the industry unlike some who have’nt a technical clue or financial stability like Redwire DC!