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HP opens Sydney datacentre: photos

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has opened its new $200 million datacentre out at Eastern Creek, Sydney, and provided ZDNet with a tour of the new facility.
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Topic: CXO
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1 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

HP's latest datacentre is built on 13.4ha of land out in Western Sydney. It has been designed from the ground up, in the form of three separate shells that are able to operate independently of each other. So far, the first shell has been completed, within which reside two cells. Only one of those two cells is finished at this point.

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2 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

These tanks store water, but they're not for cooling the system — they're for fire suppression. Instead, the site uses the cooler local climate in Western Sydney to air-cool the facility as much as possible. This reduces the centre's reliance on condenser-based cooling and is key to the facility achieving what HP claims is a 40 per cent improvement in energy efficiency, compared to its closest competitor.

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3 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

At the moment, the site runs using two 11kV lines from two different substations. HP is building its own substation on site, which will eventually provide the power necessary for an expected future expansion of the centre.

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4 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

Five diesel generators provide emergency backup power to the facility. In a complete failure of mains power, the centre requires only two to keep it up and running. This allows HP to take an entire generator offline for maintenance, without impacting redundancy. The start-up time for the generators is 50 seconds, well within the 1 hour window that the facility's uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems provide for fail-over. These systems are responsible for the site's 99.982 per cent uptime guarantee.

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5 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

The roof of the facility houses air-handling units, which screen the air for any particles. While there is ample real estate to deploy solar panels, the technology hasn't yet caught up to make it a feasible solution for the datacentre's comparatively massive power use, according to the company. Still, HP has said that as technology changes, it is certainly a path it will consider.

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6 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

The centre is capable of delivering 4MW of power at the moment, but this can be expanded over ten-fold to 41MW if the facility is used for high-density computing. So far, the centre has attracted clients such as Downer EDI, Origin Energy and Elders Australia. Origin Energy CIO Olaf Pietschner didn't provide names, but said that it was also confidence-inspiring that certain government departments had signed on for or expressed interest in using space at the same datacentre.

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7 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

This view of the roof provides an idea of the scale of the first shell of the facility. The completed cell, within the shell, already provides a space of 2000m2 for racks in a hot-aisle configuration, and an additional 500m2 of raised floor space; the cells that are yet to be completed will be of the same size.

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8 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

The roof-mounted chillers are only fired up as necessary to air-cool the facility. During the recent cool weather, only a single chiller has been required to meet all of the facility's current needs. They are set up to also allow the flow of chilled water, but this additional cooling is only necessary for those few summer days where the ambient air temperature is too high. In winter months, hot air from servers is fed back into the centre if heating is required.

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9 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

It may not have the pinball machines of Equinix's SY3 facility, but the facilities at Aurora include a lounge and meeting room. The other facilities within the centre focus on functionality; for example, there's a 300m2 staging area for testing if equipment configurations work as expected, before bringing them into a cell.

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10 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

HP has been able to design the datacentre from the ground up, rather than retrofitting a facility to accommodate its needs. This has meant that even the corridors within the centre have been designed to be extra wide to accommodate large loads of equipment.

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11 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

The majority of racks in the first cell run on a concrete slab. Hot air is exhausted out, into the aisles.

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12 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

Cooling is provided from within the insides of the rack, which are close to air-sealed.

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13 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

Due to the slab floor, all cabling is stored above the racks. Customers tap into the UPS via industrial grade bus bars.

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14 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

Cell 1 reached practical completion on 1 December, last year, and while HP wasn't able to divulge utilisation rates, it said that the datacentre was meeting its targets for growth. So far, HP has invested $200 million into the datacentre.

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15 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

Energy efficiency has been a large consideration in the design of the centre. HP has been able to reduce its power usage effectiveness (PUE) down to 1.3. It claims that the average datacentre runs at a PUE of between 2 and 3.

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16 of 16 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: HP)

HP Enterprise Services vice president for South Pacific, Alan Bennett, was on hand at the opening, and stated that he hopes the Aurora datacentre will provide enterprise and government agencies with the ability to better control and manage their technology. Although HP prefers it when clients use HP equipment, Bennett said that HP understood that some customers would have specific requirements to run non-HP equipment in the datacentre.

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