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IIJ to Build Japan's First Commercial Data Center Using Outside-air Cooled Container Units

dl button PDF [202 KB] 26 August 2010

TOKYO-August 26, 2010-Internet Initiative Japan, Inc. (IIJ, NASDAQ: IIJI, TSE1: 3774), one of Japan's leading Internet access and comprehensive network solutions providers, today announced that it has received approval for the construction of the Matsue Data Center Park, a new data center that will be the site of Japan's first commercial use of outside-air cooled container units. Today IIJ, Shimane Prefecture, and the City of Matsue signed a memorandum of understanding on the location of operations. Based on the Shimane Prefectural Ordinance to Promote Business, a part of the government's overall policies to stimulate industry in the region, IIJ will receive investment grants and subsidized electric power. Construction will begin on September 1, and the center is scheduled to be in full operation by April 2011.

The concept for the Matsue Data Center Park is "convergence of facilities and IT," and it will be Japan's first container data center offering the low-cost, high-server density, and scalability needed to meet the demands of the cloud computing era. This will be the first real-world example of the IIJ concept of a data center park with the following features.

Proprietary container unit, IZmo

IIJ will be using the IZmo (patent pending) container unit, a proprietary container unit that IIJ has dubbed the "IT module," in the construction of the Matsue Data Center Park. The duct that supplies outside air to IZmo is integrated into the housing so that the internal space of IZmo itself serves as an air duct. This makes an external duct unnecessary and thus reduces equipment costs. In addition, the hot and cold areas within the IT module are separated to increase cooling efficiency, thus lowering power consumption and reducing running costs. The racks within the module are set at an angle, and the IT modules are less than 2.5 meters wide to achieve the most efficient use of space. This enables the use of standard truck trailers for transporting the units rather than specially designed trailers, and this will save the time that would have been required for applications for special trailers, and reduce transportation costs by one-third. All the racks are rated for up to 10 kVA, which will improve the IT equipment density and create an ideal infrastructure for cloud computing.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism also announced that modular data centers are not included under Article 2 of the Building Standards Act.(*1) IZmo was one of the first implementations of the concept of "facilities as a non-architectural structure," and comes with a number of new features, such as the ability to remotely check if the power lamp of the IT equipment is on or off.

Outside-air cooling method

Each of the IT modules are equipped with their own modular air conditioning unit that employs an outside-air cooling method. These units have several modes of operation that use various combinations of outside-air and air conditioning and that are automatically selected to meet changes in the environment. Air conditioning units are installed in pairs for redundancy so that service is not interrupted during scheduled maintenance or unexpected outages. Each air conditioning unit has approximately 110 kW of cooling power, which is ideal for data center cooling systems. In addition, these units come with medium capacity particulate air filters and dehumidifiers, among other features, to ensure stable operation even when using outside air.

Efficient distribution of data center components

The IT modules use the proprietary MISP method (module inter-connection over the shortest path), in which electric power equipment and cooling units are located at both ends of the module. This arrangement provides the shortest distances for electrical wiring and air conditioning pipes, which reduces energy loss and lowers equipment costs.

In February 2010, IIJ started Japan's first container-unit data center as a proof-of-concept project, using the outside-air cooling method, and achieved a Partial PUE of less than 1.1. (*2) Using the knowledge garnered from this project, IIJ plans to roll out several more energy-efficient data center parks that are ideal for use in a cloud environment.

(*1) In the August 2, 2010, response to the Cabinet Secretary's "Request to Examine the Special Economic Zones and Regional Revitalization (Non-budget Related)," the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said, "Regarding use of containers into which people cannot, in principle, enter, as housing facilities for communications equipment, we will notify the specific government agencies or inspecting agencies of their applications and that these will be treated as equipment not regulated by the Building Standards Act Article 2, Paragraph 1," thus authorizing their use nationwide in the middle of fiscal 2010.

(*2) A partial PUE that does not include the power consumed by UPS, the power distribution board, and other elements. Industry group The Green Grid, which is promoting energy efficiency in data centers, is considering using this as an index of power use efficiency to measure improvements made through use of containers and other devices. PUE (power usage effectiveness), one of the indices used to indicate energy efficiency at conventional data centers, represents the quotient of the total electric power consumption of the data center divided by the electric power consumption of all servers and other IT equipment. Currently, the PUE of data centers is said to be about 2.

Matsue Data Center Park (artists rendition)

Matsue Data Center Park (artists rendition)

IZmo Design

IZmo Design

Matsue Data Center Park Overview

Facilities Land area About 8,000m2
IT Modules Max.24
Racks Max.216
Utility house (fireproof construction) Operation room, power/UPS room, Communications equipment room, etc.
Electric power equipment Power capacity 2,000 kVA
Two power lines, each from a different substation, provided by Chugoku Electric
Emergency power generator Cold-start diesel generator
UPS N+1 configuration
Fire equipment Advanced fire detection system
N2 gas fire extinguishing equipment
Security Intruder detection, surveillance cameras, and access management system.
24-hour on-site monitoring personnel