Last June, the University of Michigan announced that it would be installing an HP EcoPod data center somewhere on campus. This June, they unveiled it on North Campus, and this semester I had the chance to go visit it. It is part of the schools efforts in boosting its multiple high performance computing, powered by its many advanced data centers. It houses up to 44 racks of IT equipment in two rows, and supports up to 24 kilowatts of equipment. This helps the machine meet the school’s goal of cost-efficient high performance computing capacity.
This EcoPod is unique and different from other data centers in that it is outside and not enclosed in any building. Because of this, it utilizes the outside air along with its cooling system. During the colder months, all they essentially need to do is open the windows and that is all the cooling that the system requires.
This EcoPod will help save $50,000 in monthly energy costs, or $600,000 annually. Because it is outside and does not require an advanced cooling system, its Power Usage Effectives has a rating of 1.25, while those of other centers are usually above 1.5. The EcoPod serves as a Tier 1 data center that in the very least can assist in many areas of research for the university.