Watch out, Google: This Italian datacentre wants to snatch your efficiency crown (gallery)

Watch out, Google: This Italian datacentre wants to snatch your efficiency crown (gallery)

Summary: Italian oil company ENI has just opened a new datacentre that's aiming to beat Google's PUE record. ZDNet went to take a look.


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  • ENI's new datacentre's architecture is built around six flues, which give the structure an easily recognisable shape. The building — which has a size of 5,200 useful m2, up to 30MW of computing power and up to 50kW/m2 of energy density — will become the company's only datacentre, taking over from the four doing the same work at the moment. "We are on loan there and their activity will be discontinued," Mazzarelli said.

    Every bit of the company's processing power will be hosted in the new facility: a total of 60,000 CPUs running applications on Linux. The cost of the centre is approximately €100m, but the company is betting on a quick payoff: on its first day of operation, ENI's CEO Paolo Scaroni said that, thanks to the savings it will bring, ENI expects its investment will be repaid in just three years.   

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet






  • The efficiency goal set up by ENI's management are based on two pillars. The first is the proximity to the company's natural gas power station (on the right in the picture). Being so close to the source makes the facility more efficient, by cutting the energy that's lost when it's transported around the grid.

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet





  • The second and most important pillar is the flues, along with the free cooling system that uses them.

    The air gets in from the lower side of each structure (grey in the picture), is pushed through filters by a system of fans, cools the servers, and is then expelled through the upper part of the flues (also grey). "This direct free-cooling technique means the air conditioners are switched on less than 25 percent of the time," Mazzarelli said.

    Thanks to the fact the flues are located upon a hill, the air's entrance point is 20m above the ground, where levels of particulate matter are lower.

    Image: Raffaele Mastrolonardo/ZDNet






Topics: Data Centers, Datacentre Tour, EU

Raffaele Mastrolonardo

About Raffaele Mastrolonardo

Raffaele Mastrolonardo is a journalist and co-founder of effecinque news agency. He has been writing about technology for the past 11 years or so for some of the most important Italian news media.

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  • details

    How exactly supply air is cooled to desired 25°С? Do they use chillers / freon air conditioners and mixing chambers for that purpose? And what about humidity? Ferrera Erbognone is located close to the sea – so there should always be enough moisture. But, in winter the humidity will hover around 100%. So how exactly is it controlled? I thought of dehumidifiers, but they are too energy intensive – not good for PUE.