A 12-Foot Raised Floor?

That’s not a typo. A new data center being built by EDS in England will use an unusual architecture for its free cooling system, treating the entire 12-foot high first floor of the facility as a cold air plenum, with the server cabinets housed on the second floor. The 305,000 square foot facility in Wynyard is being called “Eco 2” for its energy efficiency features.

The fresh air will be introduced into the plenum by 7-foot high low-velocity fans designed to maintain a consistent air pressure across the entire room/plenum. Slotted vents in the ceiling allow the fresh air to enter the cold aisles of the data center, which are fully-enclosed by a cold-aisle containment system. The containment allows the system to operate with lower airflow rate than typical raised floors in an open hot aisle/cold aisle configuration.

By preventing the mixing of cold and warm air, the containment system will also allow EDS to maintain a higher temperature in the cold aisle, which allows additional energy savings. In an animated virtual tour on the EDS web site (link via Patrick Thibodeau at ComputerWorld), the company says it can maintain the cold aisle at 86 degrees, rather than 68 degrees.

HP/EDS officials say they believe this design is a “relatively new approach.” The first phase of the project will feature four data halls (“pods”) each offering 10,900 square
feet of space. EDS says the facility will support 210 watts per square foot across the floor.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. This sounds a lot like the Intel data center I toured in Portland, Or.

  2. I haven't watched the video, but I'm curious of the costs associated with using an entire floor as a plenum. At a very basic level, the more airflow required, the bigger the raised floor has to be. It'd be interesting to see a cost comparision between using/building a 12 ft raised floor vs. using close-coupled cooling on slab (like Sun and others) in a single floor. But, nonetheless, kudos to EDS and others for implementing a different and efficient design.

  3. Jay

    Yeap, sounds just like the Intel "engineering" data center in Portland, OR. Toured that back in Oct 2007 myself. Even down to the "pod" architecture sounds the same. An interesting design for sure, nothing like walking through the "fan room" behind the "chill wall".

  4. Wow, it will be lots of fun to work on your servers there....will they provide pocket fans for you to use?

  5. Chris

    You'd obviously only do this if you were converting an existing space. Commercial realestate is pretty cheap in London right now, it's probably not costing a whole lot to waste the floor. An interesting idea for the slightly more twisted individuals is to use the sales department's office space as the plenum.