Livermore recognized for shuttering data centers

Livermore recognized for shuttering data centers

In spite of its increasing demand for computer power, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been able to close 26 data centers, resulting in annual savings of $305,000 in energy bills and $43,000 in maintenance costs.

Those savings earned the lab a Department of Energy Sustainability Award, which recognizes exemplary performance in advancing sustainability objectives through innovative and effective projects.

LLNL defines a “data center” as a space with at least 500 square feet that contains one or more servers. When the consolidation effort began three years ago, the lab said it had more than 60 data centers scattered around the main LLNL site.

The lab's operational and business services managers in charge of the consolidation said shutting down the centers has other cost benefits, including eliminating the need to install and maintain electrical meters required by DOE’s sustainability program to monitor power usage across the institution. That alone, they said, resulted in savings of $348,000 and avoided more than $10 million in expenditures to support the centers. DOE requires that all LLNL data centers be metered by the end of this fiscal year.

LLNL said in a statement that the collective space at the lab dedicated to data centers is called the Enterprise Data Center, or EDC, which consists of 15,620 square feet housing 2,500 mission critical science, engineering, computational research and business computing systems.

In addition to consolidating 126 physical servers into the EDC, the lab said its operations team created 140 “virtual” servers that act as a kind of private cloud, in which virtual servers put unused CPU space on physical servers to work for multiple clients, reducing the number of physical servers needed in the EDC. One physical platform can be subdivided to create as many as 50 virtual servers.

The most recent data center effort, said the lab, represents the "low hanging fruit." Going forward, LLNL said it will embark on a broader institutional phase under DOE’s Better Building Challenge program to be led by Doug East, the lab's chief information officer.

The Better Building Challenge is an LLNL partnership with DOE in which the lab commits to reducing the energy intensity of data centers by at least 20 percent within 10 years. DOE, it said, provides technical expertise, training, workshops and a repository of "best practices."

This article originally appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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