Wednesday Aug 26, 2009
Wednesday Jul 01, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Jul 01, 2009
On June 26th, 2009 Data Center Pulse met a major milestone in our push to influence the industry. We broke the 1,000 member mark! This has been a long time coming. We had almost 2 people a day signing up for DCP since we started on September 13, 2008. We had a press release and Data Center Journal picked it up first. They have always been supportive of our efforts and I'd like to publicly thank them for it.
Now for some pretty impressive stats. If you go to the DCP membership page you will see the massive list of companies that are represented. 1,004 members in 45 countries representing over 600 companies from almost every industry on the planet. What I love about this is the strength of this group. I'm not sure if most people realize what this list of people represent. From my estimations, they represent billions of dollars in annual purchases that drives the IT industry. These are the datacenter customers. The ones that define, purchase and operate the technologies that run these global datacenters. Remember that our members are end users only. We do not allow Sales, Consultants, PR, marketing BizDev into DCP directly, but they can join DCP INDUSTRY. The INDUSTRY group has just broken 830 members.
We believe this is just the beginning. The work with the Chill Off, The Stack, Energy Incentive Program and others is starting the process of influencing the industry. We believe very firmly in what we are doing and look forward to watching it grow. Stay tuned at http://datacenterpulse.org.
End users, you can join Data Center Pulse here. For non-end users, you can join Data Center Pulse INDUSTRY here. Stay connected, get involved! Be a part of the future rather than just watching everyone else.
Sunday Jun 28, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Jun 28, 2009
I believe the industry needs a common way to define, address, report and regulate our datacenters. This is not just a mash up of metrics that I can apply to different aspects of my datacenter to report efficiency, it is a framework that allows us all to compare how our datacenters are built, what useful work they do and ultimately what score they achieve against others in the industry. I believe we can achieve a standard framework to compare all global datacenters regardless of industry, location, function or design. In the latest Data Center Pulse video episode, I discuss the DCP Stack Framework with Jeremy Rodriguez, the Co-Chair of the DCP Technical Advisory Board who is leading of the stack development. The goal is to define this stack, gain end user acceptance and start to apply it by January 1, 2010.
Join us in developing the Stack:
Monday Jun 15, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Jun 15, 2009
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to talk with Andrew S. Winston, the author of Green to Gold. I met Andrew when he presented at Dave Douglas's 2008 Eco Summit in Santa Clara, CA and we had stayed in contact. Andrew was undertaking a new project and wanted input about Data Centers for one of the sections.
Green Recovery focuses on how companies can use environmental thinking to survive hard economic times and position themselves for growth and advantage when the downturn ends. One core focus is on getting lean -- taking action in five key areas of the business that can yield quick payback and high ROI. Andrew recently put out a free report, Green Cost Cutting, that includes the introduction from the new book and the chapter "Get Lean". The purpose of releasing the content early is to put out some of the tactical, short-term ideas as soon as possible so companies can employ them quickly.
You can reach Andrew through the following:
Facebook: Andrew S Winston
Tuesday Apr 21, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Apr 21, 2009
On January 26, 2009 we had a grand opening for Sun's Broomfield, Colorado Datacenter. It has a been a long project to consolidate 496,000 square feet from our Louisiville, Colorado campus (former StorageTek site) into 126,000 square feet across five floors in our largest building Broomfield.
This was the largest, most complex and costly consolidation in Sun's history, but the returns were great. This project was in the planning stages as we were finishing up the Santa Clara, CA consoldiation. We applied the lessons learned there to the designs in Colorado.
We started the grand opening with presentations from Mark Monroe, Director of Sustainable Computing, Jon Benson, Vice President of Sun's storage business, Bruce Douglas, VP from our Services business and myself, Sr Director of Global Lab and Datacenter Design Services. Tom Plant from the Governors Energy Office, gave his perspective of the investment Sun has made in Colorado. The presentations wer followed by a highly interactive Q&A session and finally tours of the datacenter for customers, vendors, media and employees. By the end of the week, almost 500 people had walked through the site. As I write this blog entry, a little over two months later, we have had over 1,000 people tour the site, even in the dead of winter. We thought our jobs as tour guides would slow down after California, but here we go again. :-)
We ended the day with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the hundreds of dedicated employees and partners who had pulled this off. It was an incredble team effort. One of the things I'm most proud of in this projects is that we applied the lessons learned in California to the designs in Colorado. Below are a few of the achievements.
- Compressed 496,000 square feet of datacenter space to 126,000 square feet.
- Reduced 167,000 square feet of raised floor down to less than 700 square feet!
- Worlds first and largest Liebert Dynamic XD installation.
- 100% busway power distribution
- Water Side Economizer for free cooling at lest 1/3 of the year.
- Fly Wheel UPS removing all lead acid batteries
- Dolphin water treatment system, removing chemicals required to treat our water.
- Moved 63 huge Sun StorageTek libraries, inclduing the 10 string with 14.4PB of capacity.
- Decreased energy consumption by 1 million kW/hrs a month. Enough to power 1000 homes in CO.
Following the success of the Santa Clara, CA datacenter tour video (over 11,000 downloads), we released another tour video focused on the Data Center efforts in Colorado. Being able to show how we applied the lessons learned in CA to Colorado was great. The videos included a number of the project leaders, designers and customers of the site. As of the posting of this blog entry, there has been quite a fews already.
Sun Colorado Data Center Tour Videos
1. Introduction - Sun Data Center Activity (3863 views)
2. Colorado Data Center Project Overview (1473 views)
3. Innovation, Efficiency & Sustainability (709 views)
4. Project Challenges (1333 views)
5. Hardware Consolidation (910 views)
6. Customer Satisfaction (632 views)
7. Storage Innovation (930 views)
8. Summary (672 views)
And the fun continues...
We have more datacenter projects underway and an additional chapter in the Energy Efficient Datacenters blueprint series following the first release, The Role of Modularity in Datacenter Design. It is titled Electrical Design and was released in March. In 2007, we were just sharing the innovations that helped us achieve these great savings through flexible, modular designs. But this time, Sun had even more to offer. Due to the overwhelming interest from customers, a new service was created to help customers apply our best practices to their own datacenters. The new service is called Data Center Efficiency. The video below gives you an overview of how you can utilize this offering.
Two and a half years later, we have finished the two largest datacenter consolidations in Sun's history. While it was a lot of work, I feel like we're just getting started. There is much more to come. Stay tuned.
Friday Apr 10, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Apr 10, 2009
The Chill Off testing will begin in two weeks. In this Data Center Pulse episode, Brian Day and Mike Ryan step us through the test bed where the chill of tests will be conducted. A lot of companies have donated their design expertise, parts and labor to get this ready. This includes Sun Microsystems (test location, infrastructure, test equipment), Redwood City Electric (electrical design and installation), SynapSense (Meters, Sensors and other controls), Western Allied (Mechanical design, parts and labor), California Hydronics Corporation (Water Control Pump), Norman S Wright Mechanical Equipment Corporation (Variable Frequency Drive), F Rodgers Insulation & Specialtiy Contractors (Chilled Water Pipe Insulation), and Liebert Corporation (Refrigerant Pumping System - XDP).
Make sure to watch the video in HD! The button is on the bottom right (HD). God bless Google's YouTube upgrade! :-)
Watch the Data Center Pulse YouTube Channel for more updates. We will be highlighting each of the vendors technologies as the testing is conducted. The testing is scheduled to wrap up by August 15th. The results will be presented at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Energy Summit slated for end of September, 2009. Additional Chill off details can be followed at the official Chill Off Site on http://datacenterpulse.org.
Wednesday Apr 01, 2009
By Dean Nelson on Apr 01, 2009
Today I attended Google's Efficient Data Centers Summit at their Mountain View, CA Campus. They unveiled how they achieved their average PUE of 1.21 across their six large datacenters. It was great that they were sharing information with the public around how they measured and the innovations they have. For cooling it was pretty simple. Closely coupled cooling, raising the temperatures in the datacenters and utilizing economizers.
I think this is the type of thinking that really changes the game. When you take away the constraints, you can then come up with innovation solutions. Granted that this is not the single answer to the datacenter problems, it is a very real solution to a very real problem. Google has the money and the clout to make things like this happen (imagine the PS and motherboard suppliers that had to change their design to deliver for Google).
I applaud Google's effort and look forward to further innovations. Now, if they would just let the world actually walk into their datacenters. A virtual tour video is nice, but there is nothing better than seeing it first hand. Sun has been doing that for the last two plus years. We show what works and what doesn't. That goes a long way.
So Google, let me know when I can come and see your Data Center! I'm sure it has got to be one of the coolest batcaves in the industry!
Below is a picture and YouTube video of Ben Jai, Server Architect showing the battery based server from Google.
Friday Nov 14, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Nov 14, 2008
I am still amazed with how quickly you can reach a global audience. It's been 61 days since we started Data Center Pulse. Since then we have secured 312 members from 180 companies in 21 countries representing at least 20 different industries! The member list is growing like mad.
As Mark and I continued to recruit members a realization set in. The list of companies that are represented on Data Center Pulse are from every industry. This group spends or influences hundreds of billions of dollars every year. They build the engines that run banking, medical support systems, schools, military, government, transportation systems, and this little thing called the internet. :-) Over the weekend we brainstormed how to best leverage the strength of this group. What is it that most of the people are interested in? What would be worth their time? Personally, I benefit greatly when I am able to sit down for detailed discussions and debate on Data Center topics with my peers in the industry. I really enjoyed the round table we held at the AFCOM session and wished there could be more.
So, Mark and I decided to take the next step. We want to get this community together for a face to face working session. The goal is to discuss and debate the top 10 topics that are on the minds of these owners and operators. What are those topics? We want the community to decide. Who will lead these discussions? We want the leaders to be selected from the community. What will we do with this information? The topic leaders will present it out to the industry. What will the next steps be? The community will decide. In other words, the Data Center Pulse members will create the agenda, content, output and followup for this summit. When we harness the knowledge and experience of this group along with the challenges they face, some very useful information will be generated. Wouldn't you like to know what's on the mind of your customers? What they want? What they need? With this summit, you will get it directly from the horses mouth.
Data Center Pulse Summit
On February 17-18, 2009 we will host the first Data Center Pulse Summit in Northern California. You can read more about this event through the latest blog entry.
Keep in mind, that this is an invitation only event for Data Center Pulse members. But, anyone in the industry can submit topic ideas through this survey to be considered for the different tracks. We have also partnered with the AFCOM Northern California Chapter to host the read-out of the topic findings immediately following the event (February 18, 2009). We have also partnered with Teladata to have the output of these 10 topics discussed at round tables at their Technology Convergence conference the following day (February 19, 2009).
We have high hopes for this summit and would appreciate your input. Feel free to email email@example.com with any suggestions.
Tuesday Oct 07, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Oct 07, 2008
Based on the feedback from the AFCOM NorCal chapter meeting roundtable and follow on meetings with SVLG and LBNL, we have finalized the approach for the Chill-Off 2. Below is the stack that I created to represent all of the different layers that will be covered in this test. It is a much more aggressive goal this year. I have also included the updated presentation (pdf) that describes the Chill-Off 2 strategy and project information. We are still searching for a few more companies to participate.
Please provide any feedback or suggestions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday Sep 23, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Sep 23, 2008
On Wednesday September 24, 2008 we hosted the second AFCOM Northern California chapter meeting in Sun's Santa Clara, CA auditorium. I'm the board VP for this chapter that started in April 2008. The focus for this meeting was the Chill Off 2 and the first Data Center Pulse round table.
CHILL OFF 2
After Jim Gammond (membership), Eric Stromberg (President) and Maricel Cerruti (Communications) concluded chapter business, I presented a quick summary of the findings from the first chill off we hosted in June 2008. Then I gave a summary of the approach for Chill Off 2. Next we brought up a panel of subject matter experts to discuss the details between each other and the 80+ profesionals that attended. The panel I moderated included:
Mike Ryan, GDS Sr Staff Engineer - Sun Microsystems
Olivier Sanche, Sr Director - Data Center Operations for eBay
Phil Hughes, CEO of Clustered Systems
Bill Tschudi, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL)
Mike was there to represent the vendors from the last chill off and the testing environment. He was the technical lead for the first chill off. Bill will be conducting the testing again this year as an independent party. Olivier has agreed to provide the workload definition that answers two important questions for ebay data center investments/operations. Phil is a new vendor in the test with a passive cooling solution that removes all the fans from the servers. We started with a few questions from me and then opened it up to the crowd for questions and input. It was a very lively session with most of the dialog coming from the audience which represented the entire data center community from consultants to engineers to manufacturers to end users. We received excellent feedback and were able to achieve what we set out to do, have the community infulence the direction of the chill off 2.
Some of the learnings/changes that will be made from this session:
Possibly have a mixture of hardware/vendors (blades, 1U, 2U, etc) in the test rather than all one form factor (sun x4100) - or do both?
2N testing down to N to compare efficiency losses.
Fault insertion that shows both equipment failures and humans faults such as opening the door of a container for maintenance, leaving a hole in an APC HACS, etc. Also, simulate moves adds and changes and their affect on the test environment.
Mix the work load in the test, not serial tests. So HPC, Web and enterprise all in one test as the mixed workload.
Add results from a tuned/contained raised floor/crac based DataCenter to the chart. Show the real differences, not just theoretical, against all the solutions. Current chart shows a traditional open raised floor/crac installation.
Standard communication protocol for data collection? How easily and effectively do these solutions tie into a BMS?
Compare main PDU, in-rack PDU wireless sensors, env monitors and server sensor efficiency. Include mixture of vendors that can meter down to the plug level and see how acurate they are compared to the internal server readings. Take temp and humidity readings across the equipment and the cooling devices to see how accurate they are.
A fully isolated environment so there are no questions about other in-room conditions affecting the tests. Also have the ability to watch the affect of raised water temps and raised inlet temp, on each solution.
TCO of each solution? This would be difficult, but would be very interesting data.
Remove all the server fans in the container and compare that to the regularly loaded test. In other words only use the containers in-line cooling fans to move air rather than the servers.
Do a full 3D CFD model of the solutions and compare that to what is actually seen. Future Facilities.
The presentations with the updates based on the session is coming soon. I would appreciate feedback on any area in the test/presentation. If there are companies that would be interested in including their products, services, support, expertise or time, please email me. email@example.com
DATA CENTER PULSE ROUNDTABLE
After a break for networking, we started what I hope to be a regular occurance at data center chapter meetings like this all over the world. Earlier in September, Mark Thiele and I started a new exclusive group that only includes datacenter owners and operators called Data Center Pulse. You can see the details in my earlier blog entry.
The panel we assembled was quite impressive. We had data center owners from Cisco, Apple, VMware, eBay, Stanford and the CEO of IDS, a new startup company putting datacenter co-lo space on container ships.
I asked a number of questions that had come up in our Data Center Pulse group through likedin, some others I had prepared and questions that came out naturally during the dialog/debate.
Check out the specific questions and responses in this round table session through the Data Center Pulse Blog. (click on blog)
In the end we ran out of time with the amount of discussion and healthy debate. After we were finished, I really felt that we should have filmed the session for the rest of the community to watch. Later, an industry friend of mine suggested that we hold these kinds of roundtable discussions on satelite radio so everyone could benefit from them. I thought that was a great idea, but we should try through a differnet medium. Video podcasts or YouTube. I travel quite a bit and could film these sessions and have interviews with different DC owners all over the globe. So, starting next week, Mark and I will be filming the first episode introducing the group. We have identified about 10 sessions we want to film including an upcoming trip I'm taking to Barcelona, Spain where I hope to have another DC Pulse roundtable session.
I'd be very interested in input from DC professionals around the globe. Is this something you would watch? Is it something you would want to participate in as a panelist? Would you be interested in letting us tour your DC to share the challenges and your solutions/learnings first hand with the community? Other ideas? We'd love to hear them.
Sunday Sep 14, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Sep 14, 2008
This weekend I created a new group on Linkedin to bring the global datacenter community together. It is called Data Center Pulse. DCP is an exclusive group of global datacenter owners, operators and users. It already includes many from some of the largest datacenters in the world. DCP will track the pulse of the industry through discussion and debate with the goal of influencing the future of the datacenter.
No vendor consultants or individuals with primary roles in a sales, marketing or business development capacity will be allowed to join the group. Members must participate, or be responsible for, one or more of the following within their own company.
- Data Center Strategy
- Data Center Architecture/Design
- Data Center Operations
- Data Center Efficiency
- Data Center Sustainability
- Data Center Use
There are specific reasons why these rules for membership have been established. I have been involved with a number of groups, forums and online bodies that have attempted to tap into the different datacenter trends. The problem has usually been that they turn into individual promotion or company sales pitches. Now don't get me wrong, consultants, business development, marketing and sales professionals provide great value to companies and the industry, but that is not what this group is about. We want to have open, passionate discussion and debate around problems data center professionals are facing, directly. We then want to take the problems and ideas generated within the group and share them with the industry. In the near future, the threads generated in this group will be posted to http://datacenterpulse.com. All particpant names and companies will be stripped from the threads to ensure our members anonymity. (The DCP board maintains the right to remove discussion content if it is deemed inappropriate). The board will also frequently scrub the member list to ensure that the community stays end-user focused.
Anyone who is not part of this group, can submit questions to the community by emailing question to firstname.lastname@example.org. (It is the sole discretion of the DCP board on wether or not these questions will be posted)
Our goal is to build this global community to 1000 strong by the end of 2008.
The more DC professionals we can add, the better. To achieve this goal, we could use your help in recruiting for this community. If you would like to participate, please request to join the Data Center Pulse Group. Then, plan to bring it to the table... :-)
If you have any questions feel free to contact me (Dean Nelson - email@example.com) or my co-chair, Mark Thiele, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Director of R&D Business Operations from VMware.
Sunday Apr 20, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Apr 20, 2008
So how efficient is your datacenter?
Last month I received some pretty cool news. The Chill-Off we have been hosting for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) in their datacenter demonstration project, was completed. This was a head to head test against APC In-Row, Liebert XDV, Spraycool, Rittal Liquid Racks and IBM Rear Door Heat Exchanger. Sun was the host that provided the datacenter, plant, compute equipment, and support. Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL) was the group conducting the test on behalf of the California Energy Commission (CEC) The results from this test will be published in a report in June of this year and we will be hosting the event.
But one piece of information came out of this that I could not wait to share. As part of the chill-off, LBNL did a baseline of our plant in Santa Clara. Mike Ryan on my staff then captured the usage data for the remaining portions of the datacenter. This gave us our PUE or DCiE (pick you favorite) number.
I knew that our datacenter would be efficient because of the way we had designed it, but I did not have any data to back it up yet. We had been telling our customers, and others that toured the center, that we are pretty sure we would be under the industry targeted PUE of 2 (Created by Christian Belady from the Green Grid). That was a conservative number. But when I got the data back, even I was surprised at how efficient it was.
We achieved a PUE of 1.28!
That was 36% more efficient than the Uptime Institute target (2) and almost 50% more efficient than the standard PUE (2.5)!
For those of you who may not be familiar with PUE, it is Power Usage Effectiveness. The Green Grid's measurement of efficiencies in the datacenter. In other words, how much power do you use to run your equipment. For a PUE of 2, you have 1 watt for the equipment and 1 watt for the other equipment (chillers, ups, transformers, etc.) to run it. That means if you have a 1MWatt datacenter, you would only have 500kW of power for compute equipment.
This means that with a PUE of 1.28 our datacenter can run 798kW of equipment load and only require 225kW of support load for a total load of 1,023kW. In a datacenter with a PUE of 2 to run 798kW of equipment load, it would require 798kW of support load for a total of 1,596kW.
Bottom line we use 573kW less support power to operate the same equipment. This equates to a power bill that is $400k less per year (using industry average of $0.08/kWh).
I don't know about you, but this solidifies the statement we have been saying all along. Economics drive the decisions in datacenters. But if you can achieve efficiencies into your datacenters, you will achieve both economic and ecological results. This PUE of 1.28 not only reduces our overall operating expense every year, it also lowers our carbon emissions substantially! We're only using the power we have to. No Eco hype, this is Eco reality.
Keep in mind that this PUE of 1.28 was achieved in our highest density datacenter globally. It is also built on slab. No raised floors to be seen. The other aspect is that the datacenter is only 60% full (physically). We moved all of the equipment from Newark, CA but are continuing to add more equipment from our other campuses. It is also a heterogeneous datacenter. We have a mixture of all types of equipment from many vendors. Our plant is designed to 9MW (phase I) and we're drawing 3.5MW so far. So, we can achieve extreme efficiencies with a mixture of equipment, even when we're not running at max capacity. (Note: the remaining 13 datacenter rooms that make up the remaining load were not measured in the chill-off, but are all fed by the same efficient plant).
In support of our Eco Strategy, "Innovate, Act & Share", I want to have full disclosure as I share. I want everyone to understand that this room is a Tier I datacenter. We don't have as much redundancy as higher Tier level datacenters, but the design approach is the same. Our Variable Primary Loop chiller plant design is the same we would use in our Tier III sites. We have removed an entire set of pumps and reduced the pipe distances because everything is dynamic from the plant to the rack. We only use the energy we have to. For all Tier level datacenters we would also be choosing very efficient transformers, ups and other components. So, no matter what tier level you are trying to build, you can achieve these efficiencies if you embrace next generation designs. But, regrettably, many design and construction firms out there are hesitant to do this. You need to be specific on what you want and squelch the nay-sayers.
Here is the chart that shows the details. PDF version is here.
So, the question is. I've shown you mine. Can you show me yours?
Better yet, would you like Sun to help design your datacenter to achieve the same efficiencies? Let us drive the next generations physical and technical solutions for you. Sun's Eco Virtualization practice can do just that. Email me at email@example.com and I'll tell you how.
Tuesday Mar 18, 2008
By Dean Nelson on Mar 18, 2008
Looks like we made the top 50 list for Fastcompany.com's Worlds Most Innovative Companies. I would agree, we did take this as a challenge. :-)
Here's what they had to say...
#45 SUN MICROSYSTEMS
Data centers account for some 3% of world energy use, and Sun has taken that as a dare. Last year, its mad-scientist approach to energy efficiency -- and $2 billion R&D budget--caused ripples across the industry as the company released the UltraSPARC T2, the world's most efficient processor; Project Blackbox, the first modular data center; and a new Silicon Valley data center that increases computer power by 456% while cutting energy costs by more than 60%. With four straight profitable quarters for the first time since 2001 and 6% revenue growth, the forecast is sunny.