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Microsoft builds green data centre in Gigiri to cut emissions

By | Apr 4th 2011 | 2 min read

By James Ratemo

Going green is a fad that is gaining currency today, with the issue of global warming stirring action.

In response, Microsoft has launched an IT pre-assembled components (ITPAC) data centre at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi (Unon).

Dubbed as the 4th generation Cloud Data Centre, the innovation will be utilised by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) as part of the energy-efficient IT infrastructure for a new UN office in Nairobi aimed at being energy neutral.

The ITPAC technology helps increase IT efficiency and reduces costs as it uses outside air for primary cooling, removing the need for mechanical cooling devices. It is based on a modular design that can be used to make the ITPAC modules easy to pre-manufacture, ship and install onsite.

The innovation reduces the typical data centre carbon footprint and consumption of materials such as water, concrete, steel, piping and copper, along with reducing additional carbon usage associated with the packaging and transporting of servers, equipment and supplies.

It also provides a plug-and-play infrastructure to enable deployment and refresh of servers both today and in the future.

"The new headquarters puts Unep at the forefront of the UN’s adoption of green IT," said Frank McCosker, managing director of Global Strategic Accounts at Microsoft.

"With the building’s innovative use of design and technology, the UN’s Nairobi headquarters will have the infrastructure in place to leverage more flexible and scalable technologies like cloud computing," he said.

Green technology

"We hope this building will be truly sustainable and will motivate others to become part of a community that is vital for a greener future."

With IT often one of the most energy-intensive contributors to a building’s carbon footprint, the new data centre technology is critical to helping ensure that UN is able to achieve its green IT goals in Nairobi.

Championed by Unep, the data centre is touted to reduce the cost of expansion of data centres by 60 per cent. Kenya becomes the first country where such a facility has been installed after Dublin (Ireland) and Chicago (US) centres.

An IT Pre-Assembled Components is a pre-manufactured, fully-assembled module that can be built with a focus on sustainable materials such as steel and aluminium and can house as little as 400 servers and as many as 2,000, significantly increasing flexibility and scalability.

"The ITPAC, manufactured by Microsoft partner Saiver, should not only dramatically reduce energy costs, but should also provide for flexible IT capability through cloud computing supported by state-of-the-art data centre technology," reads a statement by Microsoft in part.

The ITPAC is easy to assemble with the Unon one taking only a few hours to put up.

It was shipped in just two days before the official launch last Thursday.

The innovation aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent when compared with the Microsoft business applications installed on-premise.

The ITPAC reduces the need for water, concrete, steel, piping and copper, which would have otherwise been used in a regular data centre.

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