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Oracle CIO details new Utah data center at LinuxWorld/Next Generation Data Center

Bridget Botelho

This month, Oracle Corp. breaks ground on a new 200,000-square-foot data center facility in Utah that will incorporate Utah air for cooling, Oracle Grid Computing

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and Oracle VM technologies. The new facility is designed for Oracle's growing on-demand customer base but also provides data center infrastructure for Oracle's aggressive company acquisitions as well as for research and development.

On Aug. 6 at the LinuxWorld/Next Generation Data Center Conference in San Francisco, Mark Sunday, Oracle's chief information officer, gave a keynote address detailing the new data center, "Delivering Business Value with the Next Generation Data Center."

Oracle's new data center:
Virtualization and hot-aisle/cold aisle on tap

As is characteristic of Oracle, the keynote was Oracle-centric. Sunday discussed the company's success and its existing data center environments, including an award-winning data center in Austin, Texas. The new $285 million data center facility about to be built in West Jordan, Utah, is called Project Sequoia.

The company chose Utah for the 200,000-square-foot facility because of low energy and real estate costs, network availability, the pool of available employees and the state's pro-business political climate, Sunday said. The state will give Oracle $15 million in tax incentives to build its data center there.

And in similar fashion, the state's governor's office recently announced that eBay Inc. was offered an incentive of $27.277 million to build its data center there as well.

But Oracle's new data center will have a marginal impact on the state's employment statistics, as 65% of operations at the Utah data center will be managed remotely by employees scattered throughout the U.S., and the data center manager overseeing all operations is based in the U.K., Sunday said. Oracle will hire about 100 employees to man the data center, with wages at twice the Salt Lake County average, according to the state governor's office press release.

The data center will be built in phases using four separate modules – or "super-cells" – and will span one-quarter of a mile once completed. Operations are expected to begin in 2010, according to reports.

The data center will use outside air up to 85 degrees to cool the data center, which is feasible because Utah's climate is low in humidity, Sunday said. Oracle will also employ hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment -- a method of cooling data centers more efficiently by using a physical barrier to separate the hot-aisle airflow from designated cold aisles, generally in alternating rows.

The company will run Linux on commodity x86 servers and use its own Oracle virtualization software, Oracle VM, to minimize its power footprint and costs, Sunday said.

"Virtualization has changed the game for us," Sunday said.

The company also uses its Oracle Grid technology, which allows IT to add CPU and memory capacity on demand. With Oracle Grid, the company estimates it uses one-sixth the hardware it would otherwise to meet its compute demands, and has increased CPU utilization from 7% to 73%. In addition, the company estimates Grid has increased its revenue fivefold per server, while its server to administrator ratio is 10 times greater than it would be without the Grid.

According to Edward Screven, the chief corporate architect for Oracle, the company's long-term vision includes the continued use of Grid and Xen-based Oracle VM to deploy its application.

"When you are deploying new applications, you shouldn't be thinking, 'How many new computers do I need to buy?' You should be looking at your available resources" and using them to deploy apps via Grid or on virtual machines, Screven said.

The keynote session wrapped up with what appeared to be a scripted Q&A, with Sunday asking Screven questions about Oracle products and Screven explaining their use and value to promote the company's products.

Oracle also announced its new virtualization product, VM Templates on August 6.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

Also, check out our data center blogs; Server Farming, Mainframe Propellerhead, and Data Center Facilities Pro.


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