Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Canberra Technology City Proposed

Yesterday a "next generation data centre campus" was proposed for Canberra. This is an initiative of the local energy company ActewAGL. They previously set up the Transact fibre optic network around the city and so have a track record in large scale IT projects.
... The Canberra Technology City (CTC) development would revolutionise the way that computer systems and data is secured and supported and provide a comprehensive long-term solution for Australian and international organisations.

A consortium, including ActewAGL, Technical Real Estate (developer and owner of the data centres), Galileo Connect a UK-based world leader in engineering and designer of future proofed data centres and CB Richard Ellis (global advisory property services), has combined their capabilities to present CTC. ...

The CTC project would provide for data centres over two separate sites in the ACT. The first site at Hume is intended to service primary production demand suitable as a regional data centre ‘hub’ for large global companies operating within the Asia-Pacific region. The second site at Belconnen is intended to service secondary production demands, as well as to provide backup and recovery and business continuity for the primary site tenants.

The CTC development would be an environmentally friendly data centre campus with onsite power generation. In recognition of C02 emissions and global warming the CTC data centres will lead the industry in reducing the carbon footprint of such facilities.

Invitations to CTC briefings have been distributed to 300 companies across Australia and internationally. The Canberra briefing will be held on 15 October 2007. ...

From: ActewAGL investigates next generation data centre development, Media Release, ActewAGL, 2 October 2007
ActewAGL is emphasizing the power requirements of data centers. But the data center will still use a lot of power.

... The consortium, which includes ActewAGL and hi-tech property developer Technical Real Estate, plans to build about 130,000sqm of data centre space at two sites in the suburbs of Hume and Belconnen.

The company said it expected to complete the first data centre by September 2008 with the remaining sites to become operational over the next five to 10 years.

On completion the combined facility will comprise about 30 data centre units.

TRE director Bruce McEwen said research by power equipment suppliers showed that the world, and particularly the Asia-Pacific region, would soon face a shortage of data centres with adequate power to serve current computing technology.

... "Customers are buying technology that's calling for 15kW and 20kW per rack and you only have to go back five years ago, to find they were 1.5 to 2kW per rack," ...

Utility provider ActewAGL has also agreed to build facilities to power the site using gas piped from Bass Strait if power loads at the facility reach 40MW.

Using gas is expected to reduce its carbon emissions by a further 10 to 15 per cent.

From: Canberra a data hub target, Andrew Colley, Australian IT, October 02, 2007

Power consumption of 20kW per rack works out to be about 6kW per square metre. So the 130,000sqm data center would use 780 MW of power and cause about 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas per year. But there are advantages to dedicated data parks, as I pointed out to the Chinese government in 2003. Google have placed solar cells on the roof of their Mountain View campus.

But before leasing a large new data center, organizations should consider making their systems more efficient. As an example, one government agency recently sent me a mail message which was 100 times larger than it needed to be. If that is reflected in overall government ICT use, they could reduce a data center from the size of a football field (about 6,000 square metres) to the size of a cricket pitch (about 60 square meters) by more efficient implementation. This would also save about 35 MW of power for such a center.

I might see if I can put a bit more in my course on e-documents for public servants. More efficient documents might save a few hundred thousand tones of pollution each year.

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