September 14, 2011, 9:40 AM — Cisco this week opened up a new data center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., with a dual role: application development and disaster recovery (DR) for its production data centers in Texas.
The 2.8 Megawatt, 18,500 square foot retrofitted data center is a Tier 2 facility, meaning it isn't as resilient as Tier 1 facilities. It's pretty efficient though, according to Cisco, which put its Power Usage Efficiency measure at 1.4, compared to 1.34 at the company's Allen, Texas, facility and 1.9 in Richardson, the two data centers the new RTP1 facility will initially back up.
Cisco plans to have RTP1 serve as a production backup for other Cisco global data centers, says company IT official Jim Cribari. It's also a showcase of Cisco technology and implementation techniques for customers, and to prove that they do not need a separate physical facility for DR.
"It shows customers how to maximize their investment in DR and application development environments," Cribari says.
BACKGROUND: Cisco bets state-of-the-art data center on UCS
RTP1 is the oldest building in Cisco's Research Triangle Park campus. As a data center, it has a capacity of 438 racks housing up to 5,000 Unified Computing System (UCS) blades and 125,000 virtual machines, with an average usage of 6.5 kilowatts per rack. The facility is both air and chilled water cooled - "water-side economizers" allow the mechanical chillers to cycle off when air can be used to cool the facility.
RTP1 also has a hardened floor instead of a raised floor - all cabling and other conduits and services are on overhead rails.
The backup capability is based, not surprisingly, on Cisco's UCS and Nexus switches, and NetApp's SnapManager mirroring and replication software. Service profiles defined in UCS servers enable the system to effectively emulate the data center workload, while virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) capabilities in the Nexus switches mimic the primary data center's infrastructure.