Many experts believe that renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, is the only way that our civilization can continue to grow and prosper in the face of overwhelming problems like global warming and diminishing natural resources. The trick with renewable energy is that there is often a large initial investment that leads to much lower energy costs in the future, so the only way to move to renewable energy is for individuals and companies to take a “leap of faith” and make that large initial investment. A brand new, awesome HP wind powered data center stands as a testament to Hewlett-Packard’s willingness to take that first step and be a truly green IT company,
How It Works
Sitting in a nondescript building in an industrial park in Wynyard in the northern U.K, HP’s new Wynyard data center’s four well-protected data halls holds data for themselves and their customers. What makes it unique is that the 360,000 square foot facility is entirely air-cooled, using eight 2.1 meter fans made of plastic and stainless steel to draw in cool North Sea air. The air is filtered and if necessary, humidified with collected rainwater, then pushed through a large chamber into the server racks above to cool them before being sent outside as exhaust.
The goal in a modern green IT facility is to use power mainly for equipment, not for cooling. For the most part, the awesome HP facility accomplishes this, using 10 out of every 12 watts of electricity consumed to actually power IT equipment in the data center. This is measured as 1.2 PUEs, well under the maximum mark of a modern energy efficient facility, 1.5 PUEs. The resultant savings in electricity could save the company over $4 million each year. The use of rainwater and wind has also reduced the carbon footprint of the facility by about 50 percent from what a data facility of that size would normally be expected to produce.
Another energy saving trick HP has employed in their new wind powered facility is to use light colored racks and servers. The reflective ability of the lighter colors makes the area around them brighter, allowing HP to use 40 percent less lighting for the facility.
Keeping Data Safe
The new HP facility has taken many precautions to make sure that the data inside is safe. First off, tens of thousands of batteries provide uninterrupted power if the main source goes out. These bridge the gap until the ten diesel generators kick in, and those generators have a fuel supply of 340,000 gallons of fuel, enough to run the facility for up to four days. The data is kept safe from theft and sabotage, as well. One needs an access card and to pass biometric scans to enter the data halls and the server cabinets themselves are locked, with the keys under strict control. Only one person at a time is allowed in the data halls and the center itself is surrounded by a high fence with constant security.
With a combination of energy savings, low carbon footprint, safety and security, this HP Wynyard facility is the new standard in green IT.