On May 4th this year, eBay’s new $287 million Topaz data center was brought online in Utah, designed and built to host the eBay.com and PayPal.com. This new facility is a fault tolerant Tier IV data center designed to support transactions totaling over $60 billion a year or $2000 a second!
But whilst this new data center is big and powerful; 240,000 sq ft and 7.2 MW of capacity, it’s also green. eBay has tried with this project, to be as energy efficient as possible both for financial and ethical reasons. With a view to this goal, eBay is using 400V power distribution, eliminating a level of transformers and saving 2% in energy costs. The facility is cooled using a water-side economizer, supported by a 400,000 gallon cistern which collects rainwater and eBay anticipates that free outside air can be used to cool the building for more than half the year. Using these technologies and intelligent placement of racks and management of cold and hot air, eBay expect to achieve PUE of 1.4 which is excellent considering the side and scale of the facility.
However, wouldn’t it be nice to go that one step further? When designing and building a data center, something that is very often overlooked is power reduction at the server level. Data center designers will architect to supply a certain maximum capacity to each rack; up 30kW in the case of the Topaz facility and stand back and admire their work once the switch is flipped. The server managers will then come in behind them and load the racks to capacity and stand back themselves and admire their work once all the flashing lights are blinking hypnotically.
But in today’s economy, it is absolutely critical to get the most from what you have and squeeze the very last bit of juice out of the fruit. With that in mind, server power management is becoming more and more important in addition to technologies such as virtualization. Wouldn’t it be great to load up a rack with servers then during times when the servers are less utilized or entirely unused, reduce their power consumption by 15%?
These savings would not only serve to increase the operational efficiency of a data center but some power companies are even offering rebates to facilities which use less than their quota of power. In addition, during times when a server is power managed, it has been observed that the overall temperature often reduces, placing less of a demand on cooling and decreasing power requirements even further. In the case of eBay, reducing the cooling requirements at certain times of the day (early hours of the morning, for example) may mean that the outside air can be used to cool the datacenter longer, before refrigeration units need to be switched on. This in turn would lower their PUE even below the estimated 1.4.
Server power management can be accomplished using modern hardware out of the box, relying on CPU load to determine when to power manage or by utilizing software products such as 1E’s NightWatchman Server Edition which can assume this responsibility, ensuring that the server is only ever power managed when it is not providing any business value.
Server power management based on ‘Useful Work’… say ‘goodbye’ to waste and ‘hello’ to a more efficient data center.
Read the complete post at http://www.1e.com/bizblog/post/2010/06/16/Topaz-the-Gem-of-Utah.aspx