Rackforce Unveils B.C. GigaCenter

RackForce Networks has opened the first phase of its new GigaCenter in Kelowna, British Columbia, which combines Cisco's Data Center 3.0 equipment and many of IBM's "Big Green" data center technologies.


An exterior view of a high-density GigaVault in the new Rackforce data center in Kelowna, British Columbia.

RackForce Networks has opened the first phase of its new GigaCenter in Kelowna, British Columbia, which combines Cisco's Data Center 3.0 equipment and many of IBM's "Big Green" data center technologies. The facility is powered by hydro electricity and offers a cold-aisle containment system that Rackforce says can support rack power densities of up to 35 kilowatts per rack.

The first phase of 30,000 square feet offers a range of space options, from single a cabinet up to dedicated "GigaVaults" offering up to 170 cabinets. An additional 120,000 square feet is scheduled to be complete in 2011. GigaVaults employ a total air separation model (GigaVault Advanced Cold Aisle Containment).

Rackforce says the GigaCenter is running a fully-converged 10 Gigabit network on Cisco Nexus routers that uses Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to network its servers and storage.  

Location is a key differentiator for the new facility, according to Rackforce executives. 

“We built the GigaCenter here in Kelowna because it’s one of the most stable and eco-friendly areas in North America,” said Tim Dufour, president and CEO of RackForce. “The highly advanced network and scalable infrastructure supports our customer’s most demanding computing needs, today and in the future, while contributing to their corporate environmental goals.”

CIO described Kelowna as “the best place to build a data center in North America.” Kelowna is a city of 160,000 located 240 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, with a local college, an international airport and almost no incidence of earthquakes or tornadoes. UPDATE: As several readers have noted, the Kelowna area is currently dealing with forest fires which have resulted in evacuations in West Kelowna. Rackforce's data centers are all on the other side of Okanagan Lake from the fires, and were not under threat.  

"The GigaCenter is a clear example of how Canadian companies continue to innovate and find new ways to improve global business practices, while reducing our impact on the environment," said John Ostrander, Vice-President of IBM Global Services, which worked closelywith Rackforce on the project.

While IBM and Rackforce haven't provided details on their collaboration, the GigaVault  resembles the Enterprise Modular Data Center approach to standardized modular data center design that IBM announced in June 2008.

Rackforce has three data centers in Kelowna at present, and has seen strong growth with its focus on virtualized hosting services

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