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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!