If you live in Melbourne as we do, you would know that winter is here, and it is COLD!
Inner city hosting providers are finding themselves at capacity, unable to provide more than 2-3 Kilowatts per rack due to unsustainable ageing infrastructure. This has seen a push towards Data Centre establishment outside of Metro Melbourne.
OMNIconnect are taking a lead in this direction. While they do house several Data Centre’s in Melbourne CBD, they have built and established their main Data Centre in Carrum Downs at the end of the newly constructed Eastlink Freeway.
Peter Hutton, Managing director of OMNIconnect, explains the reasons for this move: “The decision to move OMNIconnect’s main offices and Data Centre to a greenfield site with ample underground power in Carrum Downs was supported by various reasons. A main concern was of course power. There is less load on the grid down here and it is easier to upgrade power whenever the need arises. There was also the advantage of ample space to expand and store our diesel generators. Really, our servers and computers need to be where it easy to get power in real estate that’s affordable, Melbourne city simply didn’t offer a practical or scalable solution.”
However, many ISP’s shy away from the idea of moving too far from the city. Perhaps the fears of connectivity or access to the city have outweighed their fear of failing power availability. Peter Hutton explains how he overcame this potential problem: “Really, there has been no issue with connectivity into Melbourne. Our Microwave links give us line of sight into the heart of the CBD and the surrounding local ranges giving us diversity into Melbourne. In addition to this, we have Fibre directly connected to a distribution hub in Melbourne. The Eastlink freeway has made access to the city simple.”
As we are committed to building a sustainable and dare we say ‘green’ data centre and business, we have installed a 25,000 litre rainwater tank with a filtration system that rivals Melbourne Water’s.
Going Green is certainly a buzzword in the IT industry. “Green IT” is now at the pinnacle of Gartner’s (www.gartner.com) list of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2008. Gartner points to the need for “Green IT” as they identify the current crisis of “impact on power grids, carbon emissions from increased use and other environmental impacts…are under scrutiny.”
It is of no surprise that reports show 80% of Enterprise Customers are now considering environmental impact when choosing companies to do business with. However, is it possible to save money and be a “good corporate citizen” by choosing a “green” Data Centre host?
OMNIconnect, a privately owned Carrier and Data Centre located in Melbourne’s South East knows that it is possible. OMNIconnect is currently implementing solutions that they estimate will save up-to 40% of energy costs, and are passing on savings to their clients, thereby playing their part as “good corporate citizens”.
Peter Hutton, Managing Director of OMNIconnect explains their reasons for the change, “We are in the process of a major expansion of our existing Data Centre facility, issues of increasing energy costs, the impact of future carbon trading schemes, and corporate responsibility all came into sharp focus. These issues affect our business and our clients business, and depending on our response, this could affect the sustainability and competitiveness of our business.”
So what changes have been needed to achieve a “Green IT” outlook on their data centre?
Power consumption from cooling and other auxiliary equipment equates to, on average, half of the power consumption in a Data Centre. As such, using an efficient cooling system makes a huge difference. This is possible via APC in-row cooling systems, which have greater heat transfer efficiency than other systems. APC also utilise variable speed fans, which operate at speeds required on demand, rather than at full capacity constantly, to put this in perspective, a cooling fan running at 50% speed consumes around a tenth of the power a fan running at full speed. Using closed loop water systems also saves water.
During winter months, scavenged heat from the data centre will be used via a reticulated water system to heat office areas. Solar power is also put to good use in hot water services, while all Telco Services Batteries are charged by solar cells. Motion detection lighting sensors and energy saver lights are used, and where possible skylights are installed for natural lighting within the workspaces.
These initiatives means electricity that otherwise may have been consumed unnecessarily is now available. Not only does this save money, it also leaves reserve capacity for sustainability and future growth, a major issue for all Data Centre’s where power is already at a premium.
Business Development Manager Mark Vieros explains how OMNIconnect encourages other businesses to use environmentally friendly technology, “We decided that customers that colocate energy efficient equipment in our Data Centre should be rewarded. They receive a rebate on their service for using equipment such as those listed under the 80 PLUS program. This way, we are encouraging existing and also new potential clients to play their part in sustainability as well”
Peter Hutton concludes “We are proud of how we have built our business to date, and are genuinely excited to continue to grow it in a way that is not only cost effective and uses best of breed technology, but also means that as a business, we are playing our part in environmental conservation.”