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Photos: IBM's flat-pack data centre

Bringing in blades and tidying cables
By Gemma Simpson, Contributor on
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1 of 4 Gemma Simpson/ZDNET

Bringing in blades and tidying cables

IBM has unveiled a data centre which it claims uses up to 15 per cent less power than a traditional data centre.

The modular data centre can be designed in eight to 12 weeks with 210 blade servers sitting in each rack.

John Moseley, IBM's UK site and facilities business manager, said the steel infrastructure of the data centre comes in "flat pack boxes" and can be put up anywhere.

Pictured is IBM's demo data centre, housed in its Southbank offices in London. The glass panelling allows potential buyers to get a full view of the set-up.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

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2 of 4 Gemma Simpson/ZDNET

Along each aisle of the data centre, two rows of racks face one another. The main corridor between them is enclosed and cooled with an air conditioning unit.

Chris Scott, IBM's site and facilities service product line leader, said the air flow in the 'cool aisle' moves the colder air where it is needed most - at the front of the servers.

Around 2,100 blade servers can fit into the data centre.

Scott said a traditional data centre would struggle to house this number of blade servers and keep them cool.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

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3 of 4 Gemma Simpson/ZDNET

Another feature of IBM's data centre is that all the cables are kept within the body of the racks - not underneath the floor.

IBM's Scott said by removing all the cabling from under the floor, there is more space available to cool the servers.

The server's front-cooling system and the lack of cabling help reduce the amount of energy used, he added.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

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4 of 4 Gemma Simpson/ZDNET

Pictured above is another view of the data centre's 'cool corrider'.

IBM's Mosely said three UK customers have already signed up for an IBM modular data centre but the price tag for such a unit depends on a client's requirements.

Several IT vendors are emphasising energy-efficient products. IBM recently pledged to invest $1bn per year in developing technology it hopes can double the capacity of its data centres without increasing energy use or the amount of space required.

And last week Sun unveiled its 'green' data centre idea, the data centre in a shipping container.

Photo credit: Gemma Simpson

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