Equinix facility to test sustainable data centre innovations

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Bangalore: Digital infrastructure company Equinix has opened its first Co-Innovation Facility (CIF) in the US. The CIF is a part of Equinix’s Data Centre of the Future initiative. It brings new capability in enabling partners to work with Equinix on trialling and developing innovations.

Located in the DC15 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre at the Equinix Ashburn campus in the Washington, D.C. area, the new facility is part of the company’s innovation and sustainability strategy.

The facility allows Equinix and its partners to test and incubate sustainable data centre innovations and technologies including fuel cell, liquid cooling, high-density cooling, intelligent power management and on-site prime power generation.

Innovations such as clean hydrogen-enabled fuel cells or deploying more capable battery solutions will play a key role in defining the future of sustainable digital infrastructure and services globally.

Data centre technology companies including Bloom Energy, Zutacore, Virtual Power Systems (VPS) and Natron have joined Equinix as partners to test core and edge technologies with a focus on proving reliability, efficiency and cost to build.

For instance, Equinix and Bloom Energy are collaborating on building generator-less and UPS-less data centres. Utilizing on-site solid oxide fuel cells enables the data centre to generate redundant cleaner energy on-grid, and potentially eliminates the need for fossil fuel-powered generators and power-consuming Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems.

“Bloom Energy’s clean and modular fuel cell technology is well-suited to meet the growing demand for clean and resilient power among data centres. Building upon our continued collaboration with Equinix, we’re proud to bring our solution to the CIF and move the industry toward a more sustainable future,” said Deia Bayoumi, VP – Product Management, Bloom Energy.

“By generating power on-site with high levels of power availability and needed resiliency, data centres can take control of their sustainable energy needs. Bloom’s technology eliminates reliance on electricity utilities to meet capacity requirements as well as highly pollutive diesel generators to provide backup power,” added Bayoumi.

Equinix and ZutaCore are working on high-density liquid cooling systems. This highly efficient, direct-on-chip, waterless, two-phase liquid-cooled rack system, is capable of cooling upwards of 100 kW per rack in a light, compact design. It eliminates the risk of IT meltdown, minimizes the use of scarce resources including energy, land, construction and water, and dramatically shrinks the data centre footprint.

“Together we aim to prove that liquid cooling is an essential technology in realizing fundamental business objectives for data centres of today and into the future. HyperCool liquid cooling solutions deliver unparalleled performance and sustainability benefits to directly address sustainability imperatives,” said Udi Paret, President – ZutaCore.

“With little to no infrastructure change, it consistently provides easy to deploy and maintain, environmentally friendly, economically attractive liquid cooling to support the highest core-count, high power and most dense requirements for a range of customer needs from the cloud to the edge,” added Paret.

The Software-Defined approach continues to dominate across the technology landscape. And data centres of the future are not being left out of this approach. In fact, Equinix along with its partners, Virtual Power Systems and Natron Energy is closing collaborating to improve power efficiency.

Virtual Power Systems’ Software-Defined power with cabinet-mounted battery energy storage from Natron Energy helps in better utilization and power management of data centres.

Cabinet power management and battery energy storage system manages power draw and minimizes power stranding to near zero percent, leading to a potential 30-50% improvement of power efficiency.

“Data centres of the future will be software-defined,” said Dean Nelson, CEO – Virtual Power Systems (VPS). “Our collaboration with Equinix, Natron Energy and CE+T in the Co-Innovation Facility (CIF) showcases how VPS software unlocks stranded power, driving up utilisation and enabling cloud-like flexibility on-prem. We’re proud to do our part in advancing Equinix’s sustainability goals,” added Delson.

“Natron is pleased to be an active part of the Equinix CIF with the deployment of our safe, sustainable, high-efficiency sodium-ion batteries,” said Colin Wessells, CEO – Natron Energy.

“Natron’s Prussian blue sodium-ion batteries with >50,000 cycle-life, rapid charge/discharge and immediate availability are enabling new levels of IT system performance along with facility optimization within the data centre and edge deployments as demonstrated by Equinix,” added Wessells.

According to Raouf Abdel, EVP – Global Operations, Equinix, the data centre of the future must be sustainable. “Equinix is committed to sustainability globally as evidenced by its target to be climate neutral across our business by 2030,” said Abdel.

“We are well on our way with over 90% renewable energy coverage worldwide. And thanks to the work we’re doing with partners at the CIF, we’re continuing to make significant advancements in the way we design, build and operate our global platform, with high energy efficiency standards,” added Abdel.

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