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Publication Date: 10/1/2010
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Sandia Green Computer in Top 10
Albuquerque, NM — Red Sky/Red Mesa, listed by Top500 Supercomputer Sites as the 10th fastest computer in the world, has been selected as one of the 15 winners of Oracle's Enable the Eco-Enterprise award.

"Red Sky/Red Mesa is the most eco-transparent (energy efficient) compute platform Sandia has deployed to date," says John Zepper, senior manager of Sandia's Computing Systems & Technology Integration. "The reduction in power and water consumption combined with the reduction in carbon footprint makes Red Sky/Red Mesa one of the most energy efficient computer platforms."

Red Sky/Red Mesa is a collaborative effort involving Sandia, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Oracle/Sun. Oracle brought together vendors that incorporated several innovative technologies and products, including the Emerson/Liebert XDP Units, APC Power Distribution Units, Cooligy for the Glacier Door and the optical fiber connect.

The Red Sky/Mesa cluster deployed several technological innovations that results in a greener process, but the most noticeable improvement is what you don't feel in the room; freezing room temperatures.

"Normally," John says, "when you go into an old computer room it's cold because the entire room is kept cold to prevent computer processors from overheating. With Red Sky/Red Mesa, the systems deliver the cooling directly to the processors.

Red Sky/Red Mesa's direct cooled system uses the Glacier Door combined with the Liebert XDP pumping system to deliver cooling at 0.13kW per kW cooling. This cooling process reduced chiller plant consumption tons of cooling by 37 percent, water consumption by 5.4 million gallons per year, and chiller plant energy consumption by 77 percent.

Data center efficiency is measured by Power Usage Efficiency (PUE), a measure determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it. PUE is expressed as a ratio with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases towards 1.

Sandia and partners set out to build a compute platform that achieved a PUE of 1.7 or better. Red Sky/Mesa facility has achieved a PUE of 1.27 with 2,275kW Total Facility Equipment Power and 1794kW Total kW IT Equipment Power. Red Sky/Red Mesa achieves this even though the facility housing Red Sky/Mesa also houses additional enterprise computing equipment.

The Red Sky/Red Mesa cluster has deployed several technological innovations that result in a greener process. It has reduced its carbon footprint 3.5 times, compared to its predecessor.

In addition to the machine itself, Sandia has instituted other process-based changes to the corporate computing infrastructure to green the data center. A new automated Facilities management system allows for on-the-fly changes to equipment operational conditions to environmental conditions and increases operational efficiency. The Red Sky/Mesa high performance computer cluster installation team also participated in a pilot diversion effort to keep packaging foam #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) from being disposed in the solid waste. Thirty cubic yards of foam material, weighing between 200 and 300 pounds, was diverted from landfills. Concurrently all packaging material used in the transport of the Red Sky/Mesa system components were recycled, where feasible.

NREL uses the Red Mesa cluster to perform complex molecular dynamics modeling and simulations to develop biofuels that can be used in place of fossil fuel. NREL also uses Red Mesa to help design future biofuel-friendly combustion engines. The system supports work sponsored by Department of Energy's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The Red Sky/Red Mesa platform dramatically reduces the time required to simulate complex fuel models, from 4-6 months to just 4 weeks, allowing researchers to accelerate the pace at which they can address these complex problems. Its speed also reduces the need for laboratory and field testing, allowing for energy reduction far beyond its data center walls.

NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. DOE, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Contact: Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 5800, Albuquerque, NM 87185 505-284-9227 E-mail: slholin@sandia.gov Web:

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