Photos: Inside the Equinix Sydney2 data centre

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Photos: Inside the Equinix Sydney2 data centre

First look at the multi-million dollar facility.

Equinix has taken the wraps off its $32 million Sydney2 facility in Sydney's south, boasting a more efficient design and double the standard rack density of Sydney1 (see photo gallery right).

The new centre, located adjacent to Sydney1, opened in mid-February, according to managing director Darren Mann.

"When Sydney1 was reaching capacity, we were fortunate enough to secure the site next door," Mann said.

"It was practically a greenfields build. We gutted the shell that was there such that all that was left standing was the structured steel to rebuild around."

The new centre increases the standard density from 1.9 kilowatts up to 3.5 kilowatts per rack, although higher configurations in both facilities are possible.

"Even though 3.5 kilowatts is the standard [in Sydney2], we can obviously cater for customers that need six or eight kilowatts in certain racks, using the base cooling," Mann said.

"We have one customer in Sydney1 with 27 racks capable of 12 kilowatts each. In that case, we worked with the customer to design and procure a supplementary cooling system to achieve an outcome that was right for their business and ours."

In the future, higher density requests from both new and existing clients will likely be accommodated with space in Sydney2.

"Sydney1 and Sydney2 are two distinct data centres," Mann said.

"Sydney1 is standard density and Sydney2 is a higher density offering. It's not a case of one being old and one being new.

"As customers [in Sydney1] need to upgrade to higher power densities, it's now a simple move for them. As customer power and space needs grow, we now have another option for them."

Customers that migrate to Sydney2 are also freeing up saleable space in Sydney1. Together with an ongoing refresh program, the opening of Sydney2 has extended the useful life of the Sydney1 facility.

"We're still finding good demand for the 1.5-1.9 kW rack and there should be a small amount of rolling inventory in Sydney1 for those customers," Mann said.

Sydney2 configuration

The main changes in layout and configuration of the Sydney2 data centre were driven by what Mann described as an obligation for the data centre industry to become more efficient.

The centre was one of, if not the first in Sydney to incorporate airside economisers into the construction to enable ‘free cooling' in the right environmental conditions.

The centre has an ambient temperature of 22ºC.

"When the temperature and humidity conditions are right outside, we can pull in that air rather than using more energy to recondition the air already in the facility," Mann said.

Sydney2 has also instituted a ‘lights out' policy in the data centre when no one is inside. As network administrators swipe their access cards, a path of sensor lights illuminates a path to their co-location cage. Upon entry, motion sensors trigger light in that area to enable them to carry out their work in normal lighting conditions.

Because the centre is catering primarily to higher density customer environments, Equinix chose an 800mm raised floor to facilitate increased sub-floor airflow.

It has also put in ‘cool boots' to seal the holes in the raised floor where cabling surfaces, together with blanking panels and hot/cold aisle configurations, to optimise the air it is pumping into the new facility.

Mann said Equinix works closely with customers to optimise the design and configuration of their caged environments.

"We go in-depth with customers to come up with the answers they need to do business in this facility," he said.

Equinix is also keeping close tabs on power draw and allocation, not the least of which because its experience suggests customers are finding ways to use every bit they pay for.

"If they're paying for 1.92 kW in the cabinet we find they will draw that, at least in this market anyway," Mann said.

Mann said that Sydney2 utilises the same carrier density as Sydney1 and has been built with office space, boardrooms, a work area with free wireless and Ethernet internet access, and a kitchen and lounge for customer use.

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