Syracuse University

Spotlight: IBM Green Data Center

IBM, Syracuse University, and New York State have entered into a multiyear agreement to build and operate a new computer data center on the SU campus—one whose advanced infrastructure and smarter computing technologies, are expected to use 50 percent less energy than a typical data center today, making it one of the "greenest" computer centers in operation.

Through its "Smarter Planet" initiative, IBM is helping clients take advantage of the fact that the world is becoming more instrumented, more intelligent, and more interconnected, so the $12.4 million, 6,000-square-foot data center will use smarter technologies. It will, for example, feature an on-site electrical tri-generation system that will use an array of natural gas-fueled microturbines to generate all the necessary electricity for the center, as well as provide cooling for the computer servers. That means the data center will be able to operate completely off-grid.

SU will manage and analyze the performance of the center, as well as research and develop new data center energy efficiency analysis and modeling tools. IBM will provide more than $5 million in equipment, design services and support, which includes supplying the electrical cogeneration equipment and servers such as IBM BladeCenter, IBM Power 575 and IBM z10 systems. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is contributing $2 million to the project.

The center will expand Syracuse University's leadership in the development and use of "green" innovations in nationally strategic domains. IBM intends to showcase the data center and its energy-efficient technologies to help clients design new data centers or improve their current operations.

"Energy use is becoming the largest single cost in operating data centers—with $2 billion per year wasted nationally due to inefficiencies—and IBM is dedicated to helping customers reduce electricity consumption to benefit their businesses and the environment," says Vijay Lund, vice president for development and manufacturing operations in IBM's Systems and Technology Group. "IBM is joining with Syracuse University to address the end-to-end data center infrastructure, from analytical modeling and simulation to electricity generation to cooling systems to the operation and management of servers, in order to develop the greenest, most efficient data center possible."

The project will address a critical concern for modern data centers run by businesses and organizations around the world: ever-spiraling energy consumption and cost driven by growing demand for computer services such as Internet communication, entertainment, global commerce and services. Data centers in the United States consume annually more than 62 billion kilowatt hours of electricity-equivalent to the amount used by approximately 5.8 million U.S. households-for a total cost of about $4.5 billion. If current trends continue, that usage could double by 2011.

"Syracuse University will be the home to the first university data center powered by onsite generation in New York State, which will showcase the substantial energy and environmental benefits of combined heat and power," says Francis J. Murray, Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "This public-private partnership will complement Governor Paterson's comprehensive energy agenda, which will make New York the most energy efficient state in the nation, encourage the use of state-of-the-art energy technologies, and tackle the crisis of global warming."

The data center is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.