In fact the vast majority of our sales force in Africa, 7 out of 10 employees, now have access to this flagship communication and collaboration tool at their local Cisco office. This means they can meet face to face in a life-size virtual meeting with colleagues, customers and partners across the globe without the need to travel, as if they were sat in the same meeting room just across the table from one another. So what are we doing for the remaining 30% of employees on the continent who do not have access to this capability?
We’re formally opening a new Data Center today here at Cisco. In light of that, let’s forgo Data Center Deconstructed’s usual video Q&A and spend some time kicking the site’s proverbial tires.
Located in Allen, Texas, the new Data Center is a tier 3 facility with a 38,000 sq. ft. (3,530 sq. m.) hosting area and powered by redundant 10 MW feeds providing 5.25 MW of capacity for IT.
An overhead view of Cisco's new tier 3 Data Center in Allen, Texas.
I participated in several of the design meetings for the Data Center and am enthusiastic about a lot of the features that have been incorporated into its design. (No surprise, the facility uses all of the green strategies I discussed in Energy Efficiency Makes Two Kinds of Green and then some.) A few of my favorite features:
The active-active configuration. The Allen Data Center is linked to another tier 3 Data Center in Richardson, Texas, so each facility is a primary Data Center that also serves as a secondary facility for the other. Cisco calls the pair a Metro Virtual Data Center – I call it really hard to knock offline. (We like this model so much that we’re planning to build similar pairs in other theaters.)
The server cabinets. As shown in the image below, the Data Center’s cabinets have exhaust chimneys that allow hot air generated by hardware to flow into a plenum space and avoid mixing with incoming chilled air. This helps the cooling system operate more efficiently. (We used a similar design in our Richardson Data Center, too.)
A rotary UPS. If anything in a Data Center’s standby infrastructure is going to fail it’s the batteries, so I’m happy to dispense with a static UPS at this site. The rotary UPS contains a large, spinning flywheel and in the event of a utility power failure that kinetic energy will supply several seconds of ride-through power, long enough to transfer the Data Center’s electrical load to standby generators.
Enclosed cabinets with vertical exhaust ducts (chimneys) help isolate hot and cold airflow.
These are some of my favorites, but they’re just part of what this Data Center has to offer. For a deeper look, check out the interactive videos and detailed case study about the facility. Happy viewing!
Picking up on my blog last week about how Cisco’s own collaboration solution, our Integrated Workforce Experience or IWE, is showing tangible results of business value, I’d like to talk today about another great example at Cisco. This particular case shows how IWE significantly cut down email volumes.
Server cabinets typically get no respect when folks try to improve the energy efficiency of their Data Centers. Why would they? Cabinets don’t consume power. They don’t even have moving parts. They’re the second-string of Data Center physical infrastructure, used only so hardware, power strips and patch fields don’t have to sit in a heap on the hosting area floor.
If you’re treating the cabinets in your Data Center like nothing more than shelving units, though, you’re overlooking a useful tool. Choosing the right server cabinet and being strategic about how components are installed within them can optimize airflow, reduce hot spots and even reduce power consumption as the Data Center’s cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard.
Consider their role in dissipating heat produced by high-performance hardware.
In my last blog, “Africa – Connected Continent – At last”, I described how the arrival of affordable internet bandwidth in Africa is enabling companies to use technology to transform how they do business. Today at Cisco we have realised huge efficiencies in how we conduct our business internally and we have fundamentally changed how we communicate and collaborate with customers and partners, thanks to TelePresence.
TelePresence allow people to meet face to face over the network without the need to travel. Participants enjoy a high definition, high quality, life-size video experience and can share rich media content. We can now bring in subject matter experts from over one thousand Cisco TelePresence rooms across the globe and put them together with the vast majority of our workforce in Africa as if they were sat just across the table from each another; all at the touch of a button. In fact we can connect Cisco’s TelePresence rooms with any customer or partner TelePresence room, provided they have a B2B exchange with Cisco, so the possibilities are huge.