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SU, IBM host second annual Green Data Center summit

June 12, 2012

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Syracuse University and IBM on Tuesday, June 5, jointly hosted a strategic gathering of select chief information officers and facilities managers from industry and academe to learn how to dramatically reduce the energy consumed in the operation of their data centers, while also improving operations and enabling increased IT capacity.  

More than 70 attendees representing 20 organizations participated in the summit, doubling the prior year’s attendance. The feedback gathered after this year’s event was unanimously satisfied, and 90 percent of the firms consider themselves prospects for future installations of something similar to the SU Green Data Center

Data centers use enormous amounts of increasingly expensive energy to power and cool computers. In fact, it is typical for a data center to incur more energy costs per year than the combined value of the computers being powered. Reducing this critical input cost is at, or near the top, of every CIO’s priorities. 

Working together over the past four years, SU and IBM have developed novel ways to reduce the energy used by a typical data center by as much as 60 percent and, with support from New York State, in 2009 built a brand new, world-class data center on SU’s campus to demonstrate and showcase the innovations. 

“Our partnership with SU gave us the opportunity to take a holistic view to design one of the most energy-efficient data centers in production, using leading-edge technologies and best practices in the industry,” says Greg Harwick, program director of IBM’s Data Center Services group. “The data center showcases state-of-the-art technologies such as liquid cooling, high-voltage DC power, thermodynamic modeling and on-site co-generation power turbines.” 

With more than two years of performance data collected since the new facility was commissioned, the results have proven world-class energy performance, validating empirically that this data center may be the "greenest" in the world. The conference on June 5 shared this operating data with attendees in great detail and, together with a tour, showed how most firms can adopt the showcased technologies and reap associated economic and operational advantages. 

“Syracuse University has been a model of what a progressive and intelligent technology user should be as we all look for ways to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and increase the resilience of critical operational facilities,” says Dave Blair, president of BHP Energy, a subsidiary of GEM Inc. BHP was the systems integrator for the energy and cooling technologies in the SU Green Data Center and a key presenter at Tuesday’s conference. BHP and IBM will be jointly pursuing advanced data center projects that build on the SU success.

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