TransACT goes back to the future with retrofit data centre

Vendor upgrades 1971 data centre in Canberra to serve government clients

Retrofitting a Canberra data centre built in 1971 proved more cost effective for iiNet subsidiary TransACT than tearing it down.

Speaking at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney, TransACT general manager of business, government and wholesale David Parkes told delegates that the vendor initially looked at starting over and building a new data centre.

However, the 1970s 2,800 square-metre building had some benefits. For example, it was located in the CBD of Canberra which Parkes said would be hard to get building consent for now.

“We already had 35 existing telecommunication carriers co-located in the data centre and people don’t like moving once they’re in,” he said.

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“While it was significantly cheaper to retro-fit, one mistake was thinking how quickly we could do the re-fit,” he said.

“That was in terms of the existing infrastructure we had to pull out and customer management. We had to move customers around the data centre.”

Being based in Canberra which gets cold, the building is able to take advantage of free air cooling.

“We get 220 days of the year where we can cool with free air in the data centre,” Parkes said. Since the upgrade, the data centre has achieved a power utilisation efficiency (PUE) of 1.3.

The retrofit was completed nine months ago. Business makes up 20 per cent of the iiNet Group revenue.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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