Microsoft Technology Center: Philadelphia

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1 A Customer Success from the Experts in Business-Critical Continuity TM. Background Microsoft Technology Center: Philadelphia Microsoft Technology Centers are collaborative, state-of-the-art facilities designed to connect customers with innovative technologies and world-class expertise. Collectively, the Technology Centers facilitate more than 3,500 customer engagements annually (across 34,000 individual customers) and influence more than $600 million in Microsoft server and services revenue. In preparation for the launch of the company s Philadelphia MTC, Microsoft representatives sought technology partners capable of delivering best-in-class products, as well as an innovative design team able to ensure the facility would be able to deliver on the company s commitments to its customers. With this in mind, Microsoft turned to Emerson Network Power and DVL, a local Emerson Network Power representative office, to design a showcase-grade data center with a SmartAisle infrastructure supported exclusively by Liebert power, cooling, rack and monitoring solutions from Emerson Network Power. Case Summary Location: Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA Products/Services: SmartAisle infrastructure solution from Emerson Network Power, including: Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) are collaborative environments that provide access to innovative technologies and world-class expertise, enabling customers to envision, design and deploy solutions to meet their exact needs. Located in the nearby suburb of Malvern, Penn., the Philadelphia MTC is one of 27 such facilities worldwide. Emerson Network Power DCM rack enclosures Liebert CRV row-based cooling Liebert MPX adaptive and Liebert MPH managed rack power distribution strips Liebert NX UPS, 200 kva power core and battery cabinet Liebert FPC power conditioning and distribution unit Liebert Nform centralized monitoring software Avocent Data Center Infrastructure Management Software from Emerson Network Power (DSView and Data Center Planner) Critical Need: Deploy a variable-capacity data center infrastructure capable of achieving the highest levels of efficiency and reliability, while maintaining the aesthetic characteristics required of a hardware and software product showcase. Challenge: Complete a showcase-quality, high density infrastructure capable of increasing capacity in just 630 square feet and no raised floor.

2 Results Established a scalable high-efficiency power and cooling infrastructure that will allow the data center to double its computing capacity without making additional infrastructure investments, increasing the data center s physical footprint, or incurring significant efficiency costs. The data center has endured several potentially catastrophic scenarios including a hurricane and an earthquake with zero unplanned downtime events since going online in March The Situation In addition to providing access to innovative technologies and world-class expertise, Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) enable customers to envision, design and deploy enterprise-grade software and hardware solutions in a self-contained data center environment before deploying them in their own data centers. The MTCs deliver a variety of customer engagements including a strategy briefing, an architecture design session, and a proof of concept workshop deployed in Microsoft s state-of-the-art IT environment. MTC data centers are unique in that uptime and downtime do not necessarily have a tangible monetary value associated with them. However, any downtime can have a serious business impact for the MTC and its customers, said Bill Emmert, Technical Director for the MTC. With IT and facilities managers from different industries visiting the MTC, we wanted to help Microsoft create a data center that exceeds the technical needs of its users while also visually demonstrating the concept of Emerson Network Power s SmartAisle solution. Gary Hill, Vice President of Business Development for DVL Customers come to the MTC to gain an appreciation for how Microsoft technologies will address their business needs and streamline their IT operations, Chuck McCann, director of the MTC Alliance Program, said. Therefore, if the data center experiences any downtime during our customer engagement process, it wastes the customer s time and likely impacts their overall impression of the solution. To ensure customers have the most favorable experiences, Microsoft relies on members of its Alliance Program to provide hardware and software solutions. Members support the data center s high-density servers with a power, cooling and monitoring infrastructure optimized for availability, efficiency and flexibility. This alliance also presents Microsoft s customers with visibility into data center design best practices and serves as a showcase for all of the solutions deployed within the technology center. 2

3 When it came time to design and build a new Technology Center in Philadelphia, Microsoft recognized the need to collaborate with a team that pairs best-in-class technologies with the highest levels of data center design expertise. Engineers and representatives from Microsoft and DVL approached the project knowing that the MTC in Philadelphia would be a unique facility compared with other high-profile enterprise data centers. In addition to supporting proof-of-concept IT architectures, the MTC data center serves as a showcase for the Microsoft platform as well as Alliance Partners products. As such, the data center s designers were tasked with assembling a world-class enterprise data center optimized for efficiency and availability, while working within a showcase-style room layout. The Emerson representatives also were afforded a relatively modest footprint only 630 square feet to install the IT equipment without a distributed raised floor. Therefore, the design team needed to utilize innovative technologies and emerging design best practices to deploy a data center infrastructure that could operate at high densities without obstructing customers view of the showcase, or compromising the availability of the data center s critical IT equipment. The Solution An integrated power, cooling and monitoring solution was deployed to give Microsoft an efficient and flexible high-density data center infrastructure capable of accommodating significant future growth. Furthermore, since the MTC s server racks were not immediately filled to capacity, Microsoft needed a power and cooling infrastructure that would grow with the data center as racks are populated with equipment, yet remain energyefficient when operating at partial capacities. Currently, the data center s highest density racks draw 16 kw of power during peak hours, and the average rack density across the data center is between 12 and 15 kw, Emmert said. However, we expect to expand the data center organically over time by filling our racks with highly virtualized blade servers and appliances, so our power and cooling infrastructure needs to provide us with enough capacity to accommodate organic growth. With an IT infrastructure comprised of high-density virtualized blade servers, a robust power and cooling infrastructure capable of supporting rapid changes in loads is a necessity for Microsoft. As such, DVL provisioned the deployment of a SmartAisle infrastructure solution with row-based power and cooling equipment from Emerson Network Power, optimized to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and flexibility without compromising the availability required of a mission-critical facility. The data center is located in the lobby behind floor-toceiling glass walls, so anyone who walks into the building sees it immediately, said Gary Hill, vice president of business development for DVL. With IT and facilities managers from different industries visiting the MTC, we wanted to help Microsoft create a data center that exceeds the technical needs of its users while also visually demonstrating the concept of Emerson Network Power s SmartAisle solution. 3

4 From a power perspective, Microsoft installed a row-based Liebert NX UPS with capacity scalable up to 200 kva, without requiring additional floor space. Power distribution was achieved with a row-based Liebert FPC power conditioning and distribution cabinet. DVL specified these Emerson solutions due to the ability to operate at high efficiencies, at partial-load. Special attention also was given to delivering power to the racks from the data center s primary distribution units without adversely impacting IT system performance or availability. Liebert MPH and Liebert MPX rack PDUs are installed vertically in the rear of each cabinet corner, with the power feeder from the Liebert FPC running across the top of each cabinet and entering at the top of the racks. By bringing in the power directly overhead, Microsoft s data center managers are afforded more room for fiber channel and networking. The SmartAisle solution also optimizes the data center s cooling infrastructure for efficiency and availability through the implementation of intelligent, row-based cooling. The facility s lack of dedicated raised floor space makes rowbased cooling an ideal choice for the project, as it delivers significant efficiency benefits and intelligent control capabilities without the need for facility investments typically associated with installing traditional perimeter cooling equipment. DVL provisioned the deployment of a SmartAisle infrastructure solution with row-based power and cooling equipment from Emerson Network Power, optimized to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and flexibility without compromising the availability required of a mission-critical facility. Six Liebert CRV row-based cooling units supporting 16 Emerson Network Power DCM server racks placed strategically throughout the rows to maximize the footprint available for IT equipment, thereby granting Microsoft uniform and efficient temperature control across a wide range of cabinet loads. This configuration also allows Microsoft to maintain a high level of visibility into the data center showcase, with the added benefit of maximized efficiency and cooling effectiveness. The Liebert CRV s ability to target specific hot spots within the row also enables Microsoft to operate its racks at extremely high densities, while also increasing average rack inlet temperatures. 4

5 Utilizing an intelligent row-based cooling solution allows us to operate our virtualized servers at higher densities than we initially planned without compromising the integrity of our cooling infrastructure, Emmert said. Furthermore, the SmartAisle solution with cold-aisle containment amplifies both the efficiency and the availability benefits of the Liebert CRV. Row-based cooling enables Microsoft s data center managers to direct cooling capacity to high-heat-density areas, further increasing the data center s cooling efficiency. The Liebert CRV s intelligent Liebert icom controls monitor and regulate the rack inlet air temperature by varying the speed of the EC (electronically commutated) fans, and control cooling capacity by varying the capacity of the digital scroll compressor. Due to our constantly-changing server deployments, many hot and cold spots are distributed throughout the data center at any given time, making it challenging to find a perimeter cooling solution capable of accommodating the Microsoft Technology Center s wide temperature ranges, Emmert said. A cooling solution within the row capable of returning hot-aisle air directly to the Liebert CRV, and supplying conditioned air only into the cold aisle allows us to maximize our data center s efficiency. The Liebert icom s built-in teamwork mode also makes the solution an ideal choice to network multiple unit applications, establishing an infrastructure that embraces both efficiency and availability. The feature allows Microsoft to achieve a flexible, yet wholly redundant, cooling infrastructure capable of cycling down multiple cooling units, while maintaining enough cooling capacity to keep all systems up and running without interruption. The Liebert CRV also provides local monitoring through the Liebert icom controls, and an interface to remote data center infrastructure management (DCIM) systems. This gives MTC data center managers visibility into how the cooling load varies throughout the room, which is useful as they continue to populate the IT racks. Row-based cooling lets us accommodate the data center s highest heat densities and scale down significantly during off-peak hours without suffering the severe partial-load efficiency penalties common with most cooling solutions, Bill Emmert, Technical Director for the MTC. 5

6 Trying to run a server room at a consistent 80 degrees Fahrenheit could have presented a significant challenge for us, particularly during non-traditional work hours, Emmert, said. The Liebert CRV s remote monitoring and control capabilities make monitoring and managing a high-density infrastructure with higher rack inlet temperatures much easier. Finally, because the Liebert power and cooling equipment uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) standards, Microsoft employs infrastructure monitoring and management solutions from Emerson Network Power to tie data from the IT and data center infrastructures into a standalone interface for enhanced monitoring. Microsoft uses Liebert Nform monitoring software paired with Avocent data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software, to facilitate effective data center infrastructure management and showcase the proactive monitoring solutions that enable Microsoft to manage their power and cooling products. In addition to giving Microsoft the ability to monitor and manage workloads, Liebert Nform and Avocent Data Center Manager software from Emerson Network Power helps the Technology Center s data center managers determine where new IT equipment should be installed, based on localized available power and cooling capacity. This is particularly beneficial to the MTC team, as it will eliminate the guesswork intrinsic to data center expansion efforts. The Liebert CRV s built-in teamwork mode makes the solution an ideal choice for any team establishing an infrastructure that embraces both efficiency and availability. The Liebert CRV also provides local monitoring through the Liebert icom controls, and interfaces to remote infrastructure management systems. 6

7 The Results: Partnering with experts from Emerson Network Power and DVL, Microsoft architected a best-in-class data center infrastructure. With that infrastructure, the MTC is capable of achieving the highest levels of efficiency, capacity and availability while maintaining the aesthetic characteristics required of a hardware and software product showcase. Working with the experts from Emerson Network Power and DVL has been an extremely positive experience for us. McCann said. Their staffs are extremely responsive and helped us to forge an excellent partnership that extends beyond their role in making this project a reality. The data center s robust power, cooling and monitoring infrastructures also have been put to the test since completion of the facility, and the infrastructure has continued to deliver world-class reliability. Microsoft installed a row-based Liebert NX UPS with capacity scalable up to 200 kva without requiring additional floor space. Since deploying remote monitoring, the power and cooling infrastructure has been rock-solid reliable, Emmert said. From a hurricane, to an earthquake, to a relatively unstable utility feed, our data center has withstood a variety of serious challenges without a single downtime event for our customers, thanks to power and cooling equipment from Emerson Network Power. For more information on Emerson Network Power and Liebert solutions, visit: or For more information on Microsoft Technology Centers, visit: 7

8 Emerson Network Power. The global leader in enabling Business-Critical Continuity TM. AC Power Connectivity DC Power Embedded Computing Embedded Power Infrastructure Management & Monitoring Outside Plant Power Switching & Controls Precision Cooling EmersonNetworkPower.com Racks & Integrated Cabinets Services Surge Protection Emerson, Business-Critical Continuity and Emerson Network Power are trademarks of Emerson Electric Co. or one of its affiliated companies Emerson Electric Co. CH (07/12)

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