iiNet grooms DC2 for growth: just add fibre

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iiNet grooms DC2 for growth: just add fibre

Modular approach to data centre to cater for expansion.

ISP iiNet, now the country's second-largest supplier of DSL broadband, has built out additional data centre capacity at home in Perth to cater for further growth.

Its 15-month-old secondary data centre in Osborne Park, known as DC2, houses half a petabyte of emails and websites of customers from around the country. Copies are also stored in iiNet’s primary data centre in the city-centre QV1 building.

Having DC2 some eight kilometres northwest of the Perth CBD is both a boon and challenge for iiNet, according to Operations Manager Roger Yerramsetti.

On one hand, it is far enough from QV1 to act as a disaster recovery site. On the other, few fibre networks serve the area, so DC2 itself cannot be a termination point for iiNet customers.

As such, the eleven-year-old QV1 remains iiNet’s West Australian point-of-presence, despite it being inferior to DC2 and fast approaching capacity.

Yerramsetti said DC2 had a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of between 1.3 and 1.5. By contrast, he estimated QV1 to have a PUE of around 2.

Instead of QV1’s conventional room-cooling system, DC2 uses in-line, close-coupled cooling units distributed among its 44, 4kW racks of virtualised NetApp and IBM storage and servers.

Cooling units sit three racks apart, providing n+1 redundancy. DC2’s cold aisles function at a comfortable 23 degrees Celsius.

DC2 is at 65 percent capacity, so hot and cold water running through the cooling system is 18 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively, with the temperature difference likely to increase as more equipment is introduced.

“The number one cost [of data centres] is power,” Yerramsetti told iTnews. “We’ve made a lot of investment in environmental concerns.”

DC2 was established in iiNet subsidiary Westnet’s office building last March, as the ISP’s QV1 space reached its power limits.

Phase 1 of the deployment cost $2.5 million – some of which was spent on infrastructure that will also serve Phase 2 equipment when that phase commences.

“It’s pre-wired and kitted out ready-to-grow,” Yerramsetti said, describing DC2’s design as “modular”.

Phase 1 equipment occupies a 110-square-metre, non-raised room on the building’s first floor. Phase 2 will occupy an identical, neighbouring room.

A separate, 35-square-metre room houses the centre’s two uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, with a third to be added during Phase 2.

The UPS batteries would power the centre for up to 10 minutes in case of an outage, providing some time for the centre’s diesel generator to power up.

There is enough diesel on site to keep the generator running for up to 12 hours; more can be delivered if needed.

To date, the generator has operated for a total of 80 hours, the longest single stretch being 24 hours due to an issue with an electrical transfer switch.

A steel fence and swipe card system secured the facility, which is also monitored by camera on a 24x7 basis by staff at iiNet’s Subiaco headquarters.

iiNet has yet to decide when to commence Phase 2 of the DC2 fit-out.

The ISP also has two data centres in each of Sydney and Perth, and one each in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Yerramsetti said DC2 was the result of “lessons learned” from QV1, and could function as a template for future facilities.

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