Sun Microsystems expands data center initiatives

Feb. 12, 2009
February 12, 2009 -- The technology company recently opened a new green data center in Broomfield, Colorado, has introduced advanced data center efficiency services, and has given its support to a European Code of Conduct for data centers.

February 12, 2009 -- Responding to market demand for more energy-efficient data centers, Sun Microsystems recently announced the completion of its Broomfield, Colorado data center.

The largest data center consolidation project undertaken in the company's history, the Broomfield facility incorporates the company's latest energy-efficient systems and expertise, including new data center design and power and cooling technologies. With the project, Sun estimates it will save more than $1 million in electricity costs and 11,000 metric tons of CO2 per year in Broomfield; the facility is also estimated to help Sun reduce its carbon footprint by 6 percent in the U.S. Sun also announced the availability of new data center efficiency services to help customers retrofit and build more efficient data centers like the company's Broomfield and Santa Clara data centers.

The Broomfield data center follows similar Sun projects completed in August 2007 in Blackwater, UK, Santa Clara, CA, and Bangalore, India. The new facility builds on designs used in the company's Santa Clara data center, with features including water savings, chemical reduction, free air cooling and flywheel uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

As in Santa Clara, the Broomfield data center is based on Sun's Pod architecture, which delivers footprint compression while providing capacity for future growth. Sun's SPARC and x64 servers, Open Storage and tape products and the OpenSolaris operating system are at the heart of the Broomfield data center. Specific products include the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 and M5000 servers, as well as the SunStorageTek SL8500 modular library system, the Sun Fire X4500 storage server and Sun Storage 7000 unified storage systems. These systems are part of a major hardware replacement program that led to a 66 percent space compression, maintains the company. In one example, Sun consolidated 63 servers and 30 direct attached storage devices to two Sun servers.

"The Broomfield data center showcases revolutionary data center design with the latest in modularity, scalability and flexibility to drive incredible efficiencies in cost, electricity and overall carbon savings," says Dave Douglas, senior vice president of cloud computing and chief sustainability officer, Sun Microsystems. "As a company we've achieved our first 20 percent reduction in electricity usage since 2002, and the Broomfield data center is a great step forward in meeting our goal of another 20 percent reduction."

Other features of the new Sun Broomfield data center include:

-- Greater space efficiency: A scalable, modular data center based on the Sun Pod Architecture led to a 66 percent footprint compression, by reducing 496,000 square feet from the former StorageTek campus in Louisville, Colo. to 126,000 square feet;

-- Reduced electrical consumption: By 1 million kWh per month, enough to power 1,000 homes in Colorado;

-- Reduced raised floor data center space: From 165,000 square feet to less than 700 square feet of raised floor data center space, representing a $4M cost avoidance;

-- Greener, cleaner architecture: Including flywheel UPS that eliminates lead and chemical waste by removing the need for batteries, and a non-chemical water treatment system, saving water and reducing chemical pollution;

-- Enhanced scalability: Incorporated 7 MW of capacity that scales up to 40 percent higher without major construction;

-- Innovative cooling via installation of the Liebert advanced XD cooling system with dynamic cooling controls capable of supporting rack loads up to 30kW and a chiller system 24 percent more efficient than ASHRAE standards;

-- Overall excellence: Recognized with two Ace awards for Project of the Year from the Associated Contractors of Colorado, presented for excellence in design, execution, complexity and environmental application.

Separately, Sun Microsystems announced its intention to become an endorser of the European Code of Conduct for Data Centers, an initiative designed to inform and stimulate data center operators and owners to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner without hampering mission critical functions. As an endorser of the Code of Conduct, Sun will leverage its leadership in this space to promote data center best practices throughout the European Union.

"The EU Code of Conduct is an important step for the EU and will serve as an exemplary initiative across the globe for bringing together all of the key stakeholders to build energy efficient data centers that will help both the environment and the economy," comments Dave Douglas, senior vice president of cloud computing and chief sustainability officer at Sun. "The eco-friendly technologies and practices outlined in the Code of Conduct not only help to reduce greenhouse emissions, but also serve the bottom line interests of companies and shareholders with significant savings on energy costs."

Developed in close collaboration with the IT industry, data center owners and operators, the EU Code of Conduct was created in response to increasing energy consumption in data centers and the need to reduce the related environmental, economic and energy supply security impacts. It is a voluntary commitment of European companies aiming to reduce data center energy consumption through adoption of best practices that will lead to energy savings targets. As an endorser, Sun will be responsible for providing power data and labels for all of its equipment; expanding and clearly labeling temperature and humidity limits in warranties; offering hardware and services to meet power limitation; and developing and assisting with training programs.

Bob Harvey, chair of the British Computer Society (BCS) Ethics Forum and Carbon Footprint Working Group say, "BCS, as one of the leaders in the development of the EU code of conduct, is delighted that large organizations are taking this issue seriously. With the help of companies like Sun, the EU code of conduct will inspire, measure and improve the efficiency of data centers and computing infrastructures."

The EU Code of Conduct adds to the international organizations that Sun is working with on leading climate change initiatives including, The Green Grid, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), Climate Savers Computing Initiative, Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Corporate Leaders' Group on Climate Change. Sun's focus and leadership on greening its operations combined with breakthrough designs and next-generation energy efficient power and cooling systems enabled the company to consolidate its own data centers around the world, including locations in Broomfield, Colo., Blackwater, UK, Santa Clara, Calif., and Bangalore, India. These data centers run exclusively on Sun's line of energy efficient products, including Sun Fire T5200 servers, Sun's x64 servers and the Solaris Operating System.

"As a technology leader in Europe, Sun applauds the efforts of the EU in publishing the Code of Conduct and setting an example for government organizations worldwide," remarks Alain Andreoli, Sun's president in Europe. "We are committed to providing the guidance as well as the energy efficient products and services that will result in real impact to curb climate change across the region."

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