Building a more efficient research datacentre

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The Microsoft team that run our internal IT systems have to manage a complex and very fluid IT environment – just like you. And the It team are often at the leading/bleeding edge of technology (especially if you consider our habit of ‘eating our own dog food’). So they have some hard-won lessons on technology implementation.

Icons_gears_blueThe latest addition to the IT Showcase, a huge library of published case studies on their work, is a technical case study on how they developed a Private Cloud infrastructure. I’m sure there are universities across Australia who have exactly the same kind of challenge today, and will find their case study useful.

Developing a Private Cloud infrastructure for research

Microsoft IT wanted to reduce lab space server sprawl and introduce a new level of management and support efficiency. The facility needed to be both efficient and flexible enough to support the research and development needs of the different product groups. The solution was to build an energy-efficient, flexible, high-density facility that meets the needs of the research and development community at Microsoft and is able to host private clouds that provide Infrastructure as a Service.

It meant changing the research culture, as well as the IT infrastructure, and replacing a 180,000 square feet facility with something nearly 80% smaller. And designing a local datacentre that could run with a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.3 or lower.

What that meant was:

  • Reduced the footprint of on-campus lab space
  • Efficiencies in scale and facility design provide power-consumption savings
  • Virtualisation reduced the number of required physical systems and the amount of resources required to manage them
  • Offering Infrastructure as a Service through the private cloud shortened the time it takes to deploy systems and reduced variations in the deployment of systems

The full case study talks through details such as designing the network fabric and the process of picking the host requirements (eg memory, storage and processors)

Learn MoreYou can read the full case study online (and download a Word version)

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