SU, IBM Break Ground on Green Data Center

In May 2009, officials from SyracuseCoE Platinum Partner Syracuse University, IBM, and New York State broke ground on what will be one of the most energy-efficient computer data centers in the world. With the use of green technologies, the new facility is expected to use about half the energy of a typical data center. US data centers consume more than 62 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually at a total cost of about $4.5 billion, an amount equal to what 5.8 million US households use in a typical year.

The project, expected to be completed in late 2009 on SU’s South Campus, will focus on the actual construction of the data center itself, not just the computer hardware and software. A key element of the $12.4 million, 6,000-square-foot facility will be an onsite electrical co-generation system. It will use natural gas-fueled micro-turbine engines to generate all electricity and provide cooling for the computer servers.

The data center also will feature a liquid cooling system will use double-effect absorption chillers to convert exhaust heat from the microturbines into chilled water to cool the data center’s servers, with sufficient excess cooling to handle the needs of an adjacent building.

The facility will contain more than $5 million in IBM-donated equipment, design services, and support, which includes supplying the electrical cogeneration equipment and servers such as IBM BladeCenter, IBM Power 575, and an IBM z10 systems.