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IIJ to Conduct Proof-of-Concept Testing for the Next-Generation Eco-Data Center

dl button PDF [78 KB] 26 November 2009

TOKYO--25 November, 2009--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 will conduct proof-of-concept testing for building an environmentally friendly data center for the cloud computing age in cooperation with Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba), NLM ECAL Co., Ltd. (NLM ECAL) of the Nippon Light Metal Group, Nohmi Bosai Ltd. (Nohmi Bosai), and Kawamura Electric Inc. (Kawamura Electric).

They will build a modular data center with a cooling system that directly uses outside air, and operate it for one year starting in February 2010, with the aim of commercialization. This will be the first data center in Japan with a container unit cooled all year round by outside air.

IIJ had been considering the use of a chilled-water-cooled container unit, but with the trend in the United States away from water-cooled systems and towards the more energy-efficient outside-air-cooled systems, they realized that they could not focus solely on one single method geared towards environmental measures and improved power efficiency. They thus decided to embark on this test in order to find the most appropriate method for the installation environment.

IIJ will use its know-how (garnered from the operation of 15 data centers nationwide) to design a next-generation data center model that is aimed at achieving the scalability, low costs, and energy efficiency demanded by cloud computing. Based on this model, NLM ECAL will develop a container shell, with Toshiba supplying the outside-air cooling equipment, Nohmi Bosai providing the fire-prevention equipment, and Kawamura Electric providing the racks and power equipment.

The outside-air-cooled container unit developed for this test is expected to have the following benefits.

1. Lower facility costs

Year-round outside-air cooling will reduce air-conditioning equipment costs, and use of the container unit will reduce construction and housing costs. This combination is intended to reduce facility costs by as much as 40% in comparison with traditional data centers, and to reduce the initial capital investment.

2. Shorter installation period

Modularization of the facilities will enable the construction time to be shortened. Because data center facilities can be expanded to meet demand, it will be easy to scale out the cloud environment.

3. Increased efficiency through high-density server mounting

In the average data center today, the maximum power amount is restricted to about 3 KVA per rack, in order to avoid heat problems. With an outside-air-cooled container unit, the increased cooling capacity will allow for up to 10 KVA per rack, making it possible to increase the IT device density to as much as three times that of conventional data centers.

4. Maximizing power efficiency (achieving a PUE of less than 1.2)

The PUE value (*1) indicates the power efficiency of a data center, and today's average data center is said to have a PUE of about 2. The test site will use outside-air-cooling equipment to reduce energy consumption, with the aim of achieving a PUE of 1.2 or better. Commercial data centers that use outside-air-cooled container units can expect a 40% reduction in power consumption, which translates to a 40% reduction in electric power costs. It is also intended that during the commercialization process the use of natural energy sources that eliminate CO2 emissions, such as hydroelectric and solar power, will be investigated.

  1. (*1)Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE): One of the indices used to indicate the energy efficiency of a data center. It is the quotient of the total electric power consumption of the data center divided by the electric power consumption of all the servers and other IT equipment. This index is promoted by industry groups, such as The Green Grid, which promote energy efficiency at data centers.

Electric power is the largest cost factor in data center operation, with about 40% of this going towards the air-conditioning system required to counter the heat generated by the IT equipment. Thus,power shortages and increased cooling efficiency are important issues for today's data centers, and in terms of the promotion of green IT, the creation of energy-efficient data centers is an urgent goal. In addition, the growing need for next-generation data centers that are low-cost and scalable--two cloud characteristics--has inspired this project.

While conducting this test, IIJ will examine the potential for commercialization. The company will begin constructing a commercial system in April 2010 with the goal of putting a data center with 4000 servers into operation by March 2011. This data center will reduce the facility costs of IIJ's cloud service IIJ GIO by 40%, raising IIJ's cost competitiveness and reducing annual CO2 output by about 4000 tons in comparison with conventional data centers. IIJ is considering the eco-data center park concept, which would also enable other service providers, such as SI partners and data center operators, to use the facilities.

The IIJ Group will continue to promote green IT while actively pursuing the development of advanced data centers that have the lower costs and higher energy efficiency that are most appropriate for the cloud environment.

Advanced Eco-Data Center Image

Advanced Eco-Data Center Image