The Role of Modularity in Datacenter Design
By Dean Nelson on Jun 09, 2008
In June of 2006 we presented our proposal to Jonathan Schwartz's staff for the largest, most complex and aggressive datacenter consolidation in Sun's history. We had just completed a years worth of great datacenter projects in Czech Republic, China, UK, and Norway and we were raring to go. The proposal said that in just 12 months we would consolidate 202,000 square feet of datacenter space from of our Newark & Sunnyvale, CA campuses into less than 80,000 square feet of new datacenter space in our Santa Clara, CA campus. At the end of that meeting we received the approval for the project and Jonathan asked one final question, "Where's the book that I can hand out to customers?". Needless to say, we had our hands full with the California consolidation and the new acquisition of StorageTek.
I am happy to say that today we finally finished that task. You can download the blueprint here:
In August, 2007 we finished the California consolidation project on schedule, under budget and with the ability to almost triple our densities as our load increased all while maintaining a brutally efficient PUE. We had also completed an Eco Launch that highlighted some of our successes in the form of Solution Briefs and a Datacenter Tour Video. We were also well underway with the next largest consolidation, Louisville, CO (StorageTek) to Broomfield, CO. In addition, we received a deluge of requests for tours of the new Santa Clara datacenter. Our customers, industry and partners wanted to see what we had done first hand.
We started on the blueprint in January 2008 in addition to the 40+ active projects we had globally. We knew this was important and we wanted to fulfill the commitment we had made to Jonathan, albeit later than he had likely expected. In the end, I am really glad we waited. The Blueprint is full of examples of what we did right, what we did wrong and what we believe the future holds for datacenter design. Remember, we are the company that solves our customers technical problems with our technology innovations, but, we are also generating more heat in the datacenter with those solutions. This blueprint is a guide to help our customers understand our approach and lessons learned along the way. The datacenter is a complete eco system that requires a dynamic balance between the IT load and support load to enable flexibility and ensure efficiencies for both economic and ecological gains. In my job my team is blessed to work with the product groups who are building the next generation equipment. These are the products that will be rolling into our customers datacenter 1-3 years from now. In other words, it's like having a crystal ball. We have tomorrows technology in our datacenters today including the power, cooling and connectivity challenges that come along with them.
To date, we have had over 2,200 people walk through Santa Clara. The Datacenter Tour and Solution briefs have been downloaded over 12,000 times from the sun.com website. We also distribute this content on memory sticks to the thousands of people on the tours and different conferences we speak at.
This blueprint is the first of nine chapters that will be released over the next 12 months. I encourage you to give your opinions and suggestions or raise your questions and concerns through this blog entry, email or the blueprint wiki site.
Stay tuned. This is just getting fun... :-)