How Brocade Earned $2 Million in Rebates

Brocade Communications CEO Mike Klayko discusses data center design at the recent Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit hosted on the new campus in San Jose.

Sometimes the deployment of IT workloads and data center space are driven by unusual considerations. Just ask Brocade Communications CEO Mike Klayko.

“We were making decisions about where to put projects based on where we had parking space,” said Klayko. That’s because the company’s data centers were effectively out of power capacity, and additional workloads required portable power infrastructure – and the space to house it.

That power squeeze led Brocade to build a state-of-the-art data center as part of its new corporate campus in San Jose, Calif. The company made energy efficiency a top priority in the design and construction of its new campus, and the data center was a key focal point for that effort, which paid off in $2.2 million in rebates from utility PG&E and an estimated $1.5 million in annual operational savings.

When the project was begun, Brocade had 80,000 square feet of space spread across three data centers and five development labs. Those facilities were consolidated into the new data center, which houses 1,920 racks of equipment for Brocade’s development labs and 110 racks that support the company’s IT operations. Approximately 70 percent of the workloads in the new facility are now virtualized.

The Brocade data center began with a commitment to high-efficency hardware, including chillers, cooling towers and variable frequency drives (VFDs) throughout the system to allow fine-tuned control of airflow and cooling.

The company’s design features water-side economizers that reduce the use of chillers,and custom in-row cooling units from Custom Mechanical Systems, which use airfoil blade wheels to improve aerodynamics and variable speed Electrically Commutated Motors (ECM), which CMS says can operate at efficiencies typically seen in large industrial motors.

Brocade has energy monitoring at the PDU level and in its Starline Busways (overhead power distribution systems allowing easy expansion of rack systems). There are also 1,500 temperature sensors in the Brocade data center tied into building management system, which can auto-adjust cooling as workloads shift.

This video provides a closer look at the new Brocade data center. It runs about 2 minutes.

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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. Great story for all IT companies. Certainly a trend for large IT companies looking to save big for the future. We also have a solution. Saving on electrical expenditures can be achieved without turning to the high cost of alternative energy sources. Power Factor Correction and Harmonic filtering coupled with other electrical components can be greatly beneficial in reducing electrical consumption. Speaking with our clients, we have found most consumers (Residential and Commercial) simply are unaware of the potentially thousands of dollars they are wasting monthly or yearly as a result of inefficiency in there electrical system. Tony Z.

  2. Anton

    Tony Z If I may quote you “Power Factor Correction and Harmonic filtering coupled with other electrical components can be greatly beneficial in reducing electrical consumption.” I think you will find it easier and cheaper to just buy unity PF and low THDI products. As far as infrastructure is concerned, everything you want for a DC today (Chillers, Pumps, Fans, CRACs and UPS) is available unity PF, high efficiency and low noise. Even the servers and network devices (see can be obtained unity PF, high efficiency and low noise. The use of PFC and harmonic filters is an expensive way to mask the problem or to use a more appropriate saying: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. When it comes time to replace the IT, buy 80plus, when you replace the infrastructure with unity PF, low noise and high efficiency. This approach will be cheaper and more reliable in the long run. Anton