Building a Sustainable Data Center


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My experience building a sustainable data center for a public transit entity. Real world lessons.

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  • In one year, NCTD’s headquarters building went from 52,350 kwh/mo to 65,560 kwh/mo – with almost all of the increase due to the IT team. 15% increase in power demand in one year, even including virtualization project.
  • Building a Sustainable Data Center

    1. 1. Real World Experience Building a Sustainable Data Center APTA TransITech 2010 Angela K. Miller Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer 24-Feb-2010
    2. 2. Review of Presentation Last Year <ul><li>Take Simple Steps toward Greener IT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtualization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blades </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replacing older, non-EnergyStar equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendors are our friends in this mission –every day equipment becomes more efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluate your Purchasing Criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Storage Investments </li></ul><ul><li>Recycling of e-Waste </li></ul><ul><li>The technology team has a role to play in sustainability initiatives at transit agencies. </li></ul><ul><li>Simple small steps can realize significant cost and power savings </li></ul>
    3. 3. What does it mean to be a Sustainable Data Center? <ul><li>Sustainability considers economic, people, and environmental issues. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to decrease the cost of providing technology for our agencies </li></ul><ul><li>We need infrastructure we can support with the shrinking resources we have </li></ul><ul><li>We need to deliver technology services in a manner that is most efficient and effective </li></ul><ul><li>We need to support our industry’s mission to be a ‘greener’ alternative mode of transportation than taking a personal vehicle </li></ul><ul><li>A sustainable data center should endure, minimize environmental impact, and be supportable and adaptable over time </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why do we care about making Data Centers Sustainable? <ul><li>Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory study shows data centers use 1.5% of all power in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>IT power consumption is predicted to double over the next 5 years (EPA) </li></ul><ul><li>NCTD’s IT Power consumption increased 15% in one year at just the main data center </li></ul><ul><li>We are all facing tremendous pressure to cut costs – given the escalating power demands, implementing a sustainable data center can help save substantial operating money </li></ul>
    5. 5. How much power do data centers consume?
    6. 6. Energy Efficiency <ul><li>Converted 85% of servers to blade architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Virtualization has gone from 5% to 60% of server architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Forcing some vendors who say they do not support virtualization to try anyway (ex. Init, Oracle) </li></ul><ul><li>Entire test environment – including Sharepoint, Enterprise SQL Server, JD Edwards ERP – virtualized. </li></ul><ul><li>In spite of all of these current steps, we increased our energy demand by 15% just last year. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly need to continue to make incremental improvements </li></ul><ul><li>Not only were we out of space and cooling capacity – we’re out of power </li></ul>
    7. 7. Power Usage <ul><li>Cooling the data center has become more complicated as the average heat load per cabinet has moved from  1-5 Kilowatts of heat to 28 in the last 5 years. (Georgia Institute of Technology)  </li></ul><ul><li>Cooling costs are up to 35% of the data center energy costs due to inefficiencies in air handling </li></ul><ul><li>Power Usage Effectiveness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Power Entering Data Center)/(Power Used to run computer infrastructure) – improves as you get closer to 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Power Used to run computer infrastructure)/(Power Entering Data Center) – want to be near 100% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Typical data center has an average PUE of 2.5. This means that for every 2.5 watts delivered into the facility, only one watt is delivered out to the IT load. Most facilities could achieve 1.6 PUE using efficient equipment and best practices. (Uptime Institute/GreenGrid) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Real World Sustainable Data Center Project <ul><li>NCTD’s Data Center built in 1986 </li></ul><ul><li>No major improvements since 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to support Prime Minicomputer/Mainframe Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Problems with Power, Cooling, Footprint </li></ul><ul><li>Data Center located in basement of a former bank building </li></ul><ul><li>Urgently needed an upgrade, but seemed impossible to address problems </li></ul>
    9. 9. Elements of project <ul><li>Stimulus Project – honor the purpose of the program </li></ul><ul><li>Air handling </li></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul><ul><li>Footprint </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints of Room </li></ul>
    10. 10. LEED Question <ul><li>Purpose of LEED </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent Certification that Efforts are in Fact Green >> don’t want to be accused of ‘greenwashing’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>US Green Building Council Program – research demonstrates that most projects achieve ROI within 10 years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycled ESD tiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bamboo ceiling tiles (renewable materials) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reuse of doors, ac, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LED Lighting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low VOC paints </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. LEED Question <ul><li>Business Process Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulated recycling plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addition of carpool parking spaces in spite of our heavy push on transit users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing printing practices (double-sided printing on recycled paper) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trees in parking lot </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gotchas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water usage reduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial interior vs. building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So is this really worth the effort? … </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Renewable Energy Installation & Sourcing <ul><li>100% offset of data center power consumption (15 kWh) </li></ul><ul><li>Inverters for up to 15 kWh more </li></ul><ul><li>$197k installation cost. 6 year payback period </li></ul>
    13. 13. Onsite Power Generator <ul><li>Decidedly NOT Green </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing Power Outage Problems – needed higher level of protection </li></ul><ul><li>Business process to mitigate the environmental impact </li></ul><ul><li>Types of supplemental power: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Natural Gas Generators – operate data center and grid is backup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuel Cell UPS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biodiesel Generator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fly Wheel UPS </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Return on Investment Analysis Description Acquisition Cost Annual Energy Savings New N+1 UPS $45,000 $500 Infrastructure $50,000 In-Row Cooling $60,000 $12,000 New Generator $80,000 LEED Certification $20,000 $5,000 Solar Panel Array $160,000 $20,000 Program Management $35,000 General Construction $140,000 Totals: $590,000 $37,500 (15 years)
    15. 15. New Data Center Design
    16. 16. Unexpected Project Issues <ul><li>Permitting issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solar installation problems – connection to the building! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parking lot problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Size of the trash container prohibited placement of the generator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Had to trench the parking lot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hazardous Materials Handling plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delays delays delays </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Buy America Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most Solar manufactured overseas. Still working on Buy America Waiver </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Ideas for Other Installation Scenarios <ul><li>Reuse the heat generated from the data center </li></ul><ul><li>Louvered/Open Windows for air circulation </li></ul><ul><li>Flywheel UPS </li></ul><ul><li>Variable-Speed Chilling Devices </li></ul><ul><li>Green roofs/walls </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse Osmosis water processing for cooling </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom line – trying to achieve a PUE as close to 1 as possible </li></ul>
    18. 18. Lessons learned <ul><li>Building a new LEED building is way less complicated that retrofitting </li></ul><ul><li>IT can and should play a leadership role in energy efficiency and sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Understand how far reaching a data center project can be – you could be looking at everything from business processes to toilets </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific with materials criteria at RFP phase – don’t let vendors off of hook to provide materials that meet LEED requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the permitting requirements </li></ul><ul><li>ROI may seem elusive, but it is achievable </li></ul><ul><li>Building a sustainable data center is not about being part of a political movement or creating a press sound bite. </li></ul><ul><li>It is about making an investment that will endure, be supportable, </li></ul><ul><li>and will save your agency operating dollars. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Recommendations to APTA Members <ul><li>Think about adding Green or Energy Efficiency Standards to Purchasing Criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Possible to add e-Waste Recycling as an achievable goal – cradle to cradle </li></ul><ul><li>Technology has to be considered in analysis of Carbon Footprint and Emissions Assessments </li></ul>
    20. 20. Contact Information <ul><li>Angela K. Miller </li></ul><ul><li>North County Transit District </li></ul><ul><li>e [email_address] / b / t ecologyit </li></ul>
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