CDC offering big iron pod service

"World first" solution of putting big iron in modular data centre pod on non-raised flooring on offer

Canberra Data Centres (CDC) has launched a big iron modular pod service on non-raised flooring as it rolls out the set up before Christmas for Federal Government agency Centrelink.

CDC managing director, Greg Boorer, said the data centre operator had been working with APC, Sun Microsystems and its Federal Government client (which he would not name), to create a pod-like set up for more precise power and cooling.

"The government client was looking at innovative ways with IT cooling and demand," he said. "Also, they wanted a better utilisation of space and a higher density computing outcome. With the cost of power being what it is – and it is obviously going to grow – it is very important you only provide just the right amount of cooling at any given time for an IT load.

"The client was looking at using a raised-floor type environment and we produced modelling that the amount of computing load they were looking at, they could save up to $300,000 a year in power costs alone. When the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) is introduced that could be more like $500,000 to $600,000 a year in cooling costs. What we have done is create a custom pod which dynamically provides the exact amount of cooling to the equipment and the exact amount of heating extraction at any one time."

The pod approach – which involves putting six of Sun Microsystem's big iron M9000 machines into roughly 70sqm of un-raised floor space in a pod that uses APC's cooling approach – was first revealed in early September.

(See a slideshow of Sun's M9000 devices)

News reports at the time identified Centrelink as being the customer with a capital investment in the project of $4.9 million.

Boorer said CDC had invested more than 300 staff hours in the design process and said those involved considered the achievement a "world first". The data centre operator also has similar designs for storage pods – that use Hitachi USP V enterprise storage – and can now guarantee the temperature band for optimal performance of the equipment at all times in all operating conditions regardless of workloads.

"No-one can say that in a raised floor environment because the raised-floor environment is so imprecise and has so many challenges around hot spots and so many things that if anything the throughput and capability of these devices will be even better," Boorer said.

With the Centrelink pods being deployed prior to Christmas, CDC is hopeful of convincing other clients they do not need to use raised flooring with big iron or mainframe devices.

"We'd be looking at rolling this out across a wider range of large iron in the not too distant future."

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