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Build it Right the First Time

We’ve recently embarked on an logical extension of the Advanced Services we’ve been providing for efficiency assessments for the last 24 months.  Our Facilities Design Specification Service is uncovering some interesting new approaches to energy efficient data center design.  Since you only get a very finite window of opportunity to make changes to an environment like a data center, modeling is key.

We use 6sigma from Future Facilities for highly detailed thermal modeling and good old Visio for everything else.  However, we are using with great success an intermediary application, Google SketchUp. Hats off and many thanks to the Google crew for giving this incredibly powerful yet simple tool away.  While we do use the pro version, most of our customers can use the free version to simply convey design intent.  Say goodbye to whiteboards.

You may have already used it and most likely have seen the 3D buildings in Google Earth.

I’ve been using it for a wide range of uses for a few years now and have built many Cisco data center components that can be used to better plan at a high level your data center infrastructure architecture.  Many of us have used it for home projects, myself included -- I built a high density organic garden using adobe (the mud not the software) after planning it in SketchUp.

What I’m interested in knowing is if Cisco continued to build out our product lines as SketchUp components and gave them away through the 3D warehouse, would our customers use them?  Right now, I build models in preparation for a facilities design specification which is an actual blueprint that can be built against.  I typically review the model with users through Webex and make notes on the changes.

What would seem to make more sense is to go a step further and use the warehouse as a rudimentary 3D wiki.  So give SketchUp a free download, play with it for a night or two and if you think you would use it more if vendors started to build their products out for you, leave me a comment saying “yes I would use it”.  This could save you from getting yet another survey email in your inbox Laughing.

Thanks, happy Sketching…

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6 Comments.


  1. I would ABSOLUTELY use the models posted on 3D warehouse! It beats the old days of building models in AutoCAD! I have used SketchUp for a couple of projects, so having more objects available makes things a breeze and lets you focus on the objective of the design.Thanks,Dave

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  2. Rob, My comment is not so much about the modeling, which is great, but about the cooling you apply in your design. You talk about plumbing for cooling in racks. You can probably achieve the same flexible cooling with mixed high and low density racks but without a specific cooling installation per rack using a concept called Kyoto cooling. Very efficient, very flexible concept, which can be applied in modular way. Have a look at their website. Marc

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  3. Rob Aldrich

    Hi Marc,I’ve taken a look at Kyoto cooling and it looks interesting.Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Rob Aldrich

    Hi Dave,Thanks for the comment. I’m looking to get some supporting input from our users to do more of this. As you mention one can spend a lot of time on building components. I would like to see all vendors start posting their products on the warehouse.We’ll keep plugging and I’ll put up another post once you we have a marketing approved component library for you to choose from.Thanks again for the input.

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  5. Hi Rob,

    I also use Sketchup for the Design and management of our Data Centres, and I frequently upload models that I have created for others else where to use, saving others time in the creation themselves.

    In fact, I noticed that your outside generators looks remarkably like the one I created and uploaded myself, so if it is the same I think its great to see it being used in someone elses model!

    Many thanks,

    Stu…

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    • Rob Aldrich

      Thanks Stuart!

      Yes the Gensets were taken from the 3D warehouse. Please feel to grab Cisco data center designs and components by searching “Cisco Data Center”. I’m glad to hear you are using this for DC’s as well….hopefully it catches on industry wide!

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