Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Emerson St. Louis Data Center

Today I attended the open house for the new Emerson Global data center in St. Louis. The data center and presenting staff were both very impressive. The data center, like many corporate initiatives we’ve heard about in recent years, was a consolidation project. Emerson consolidated over 100 data centers they had around the world in remote offices, acquired companies and such and made the St. Louis facility a showcase, done right from the start, high density facility to serve the enterprise. The consolidation project will continue overseas with Europe and Asia facilities.

Some quick specs from this impressive facility include:

35,000 square foot --- 12,000 sq. ft. raised floor and ultimately capacity for 5,000 servers

Anticipating a LEED Gold certification

7,800 square foot Solar array on the roof providing 100kW of power to the IT Load

Applied all 10 attributes of their own Energy Logic road map.

Designed to cope with a variety of natural and man-made disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, fires and telecom fiber cuts). The facility was built to withstand up to a F3 tornado or an earthquake up to 8.0 on the Richter scale.

Integrates numerous Emerson Network Power products – including Alber, Aperture, ASCO, Knurr and Liebert.

2 Caterpillar generators, with the capability to add 2 more.

72 hours of fuel on-site plus room to place an additional fuel tank.

Mostly new IT equipment populating the cabinets: Cisco, Dell, EMC and Sun.

Three layers of redundancy:

a. Dual utility feeds (separate physical paths into the building)

b. A and B side mechanical rooms / redundant UPS

c. N+1 Caterpillar generators

In Uptime Institute tier standards it comes about as close as you can to a tier IV data center. Dual-everything inside the building is used to the extent of having A & B telcom rooms where visiting technicians do not have to enter the data center or mechanical rooms to work on carrier equipment. There was great detail paid to the layout of the facility to ensure a separation of IT and facilities staff.

The LEED certification and renewable energy aspect to the facility was impressive. St. Louis based Fox Architects led a multi-disciplinary design and engineering team through years of

planning and 18 months of construction. Fox Architects also led the Monsanto data center project from a few years back. The solar array on the roof gives the ability to (manually) provide 100kW of DC power, directly to the IT load below. They use a Solectria Renewables Grid Tiered Photovoltaic inverter and boast that it is the largest solar array in the state of Missouri. The facility was originally planned to achieve silver LEED certification, but several items gave them additional points, such as approximately 80% of the waste generated during the construction has been diverted from landfills.

Site selection (to me) was a no-brainer, but primary reasons listed by Emerson were low power rates (typically 3-5 cents per kWh), low natural disaster risk, and low telecommunication rates. The sister site Emerson has in Marshalltown Iowa serves as a disaster recovery site and (now) vice versa.

As expected all of the latest and greatest Emerson products were used inside the facility.

Emerson even makes a component inside the Caterpillar generators used. There was amazing use and integration with their Site Scan and Aperture Vista products. A lobby television displays an interactive one-line diagram of their power infrastructure that can also be viewed on their internal corporate network. Site Scan is the dashboard for viewing a wide variety of data on the facility, load, IT equipment and other critical components. Emerson also incorporated the strategies and technologies advocated in their Energy Logic roadmap for improving efficiency. For instance they used a 240 volt power distribution architecture instead of the typical 208V. Aperture Vista is used for facility operations and future planning.

The “Liebert Adaptive Architecture” was seen in action throughout the facility:

1. Liebert DS precision cooling system

2. Liebert NXL on-line UPS

3. Liebert XD Cooling module (used when they had blades or higher density in a cabinet)

4. The web based monitoring of Site Scan

5. Liebert FDC power distribution cabinet

6. Liebert MPX adaptive rack PDU. This was just pretty darn cool. The word ‘adaptive’ is key here. It’s modular, re-configurable, supports NEMA and IEC, has SNMP and a host of other metrics and monitoring capabilities. The product is not yet released, but I was able to find this German Knurr brief on it – here.

The IT equipment going in to phase 1 of this facility will include around 400 servers plus storage and network gear. They intend to use blade systems (Sun I assume) and have approximately a 15:1 virtualization ratio. All network distribution to the cabinets is fiber. Following the dual-everything approach, each cabinet is fed A and B side fiber runs and there is NO copper in the under-floor trays. The 3 foot raised floor serves all electrical connectivity, cable trays for communication and FM200 protection.

The FM200 distribution under-floor was interesting to me. With so much going on under the floor the thought was to put out the fire in this 3 foot raised area, but not above floor for the IT equipment. Above floor fire protection comes in the form of pre-action dry pipe. This is also then used in power equipment rooms that are on slab.

Designed to be a lights-out facility, the on-site staff may just achieve that if they sit still too long and the motion-detection lights shut off. J CNN was playing on the TV in the lobby, which means cable, which means the St. Louis Cardinals SURELY are on whenever the boss isn’t around.

1 comment:

Richard Stasior said...

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