EDI Wins eBay Modular Design Contest

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The site in Phoenix where eBay is commencing construction on an 8,000 square foot data center. The company is seeking design submissions for a rooftop container installation.

The team of EDI, AHA Consulting Engineers and Winterstreet Architects has won a design contest to build a modular data center for eBay in Phoenix. The outcome of the unusual public request for proposals (RFP) was announced on Data Center Pulse by Dean Nelson, eBay’s Senior Director of Global Data Center Strategy.

The winning design from the EDI team will be used in an 8,000 square foot data center that eBay is building in Phoenix, which will be able to accommodate up to 12 server-filled containers on its roof. The two-story building will also include raised-floor space on its first floor. The EDI concept included “hot water cooling” to support the requirement for year-round use of fresh air cooling (free cooling), despite the temperatures in Phoenix.

“This has been an extremely interesting process for us with an unexpected result,” Nelson wrote. “EDI, a small company that we had never even heard of before, was able to meet all of the challenging requirements we had proposed to the industry through the Modular RFP process in a cost effective, simple design.”

The EDI team was among 20 entrants in the open RFP, which was designed to prompt innovation in data center design using modular data centers, which are typically built in a factory and assembled on-site, resulting in a faster and cheaper construction process.

Nelson said the RFP process generated a number of compelling designs. In addition to the EDI entry, Skanska put forth a design called eHive that Nelson described as “a very compelling ultra dense product.” Nelson said that although Skanska was not selected, “their modular product was innovative enough to warrant further consideration in this data center deployment.” The eHive product has not been released publicly, but Nelson said eBay would seek to integrate it into the EDI design concept.

The eBay project calls for a combination of approaches to cooling and reliability, using both air cooling and liquid cooling in different parts of the facility. The project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2011.

EDI Ltd. is based in Atlanta and has been known for its work with health care facility design. AHA Consulting Engineers is an MEP specialist that has partiucipated in data center projects for Cisco, Lucent, 3Com, Sun and Akamai. Winter Street Architects is based in Salem, Mass. and has worked on “Eco Data Center” designs for Sun Microsystems.

In this video, Nelson reviews the eBay RFP process with Mike Lewis, Director of Mission Critical Engineering and Gary Cudmore and Rob Nash-Boulden from EDI. This video runs about 14 minutes.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief 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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