"Energy efficiency was on our minds right from the beginning," says Showers. "The building had to meet our business needs and be cost-effective, but we were also very conscious of how it could be done in an environmentally sensitive way."
The results of those efforts came to fruition when Monsanto's IT staff was scheduled to move into the new $21 million data center over Thanksgiving weekend. The 40,000-square-foot building not only supports the company's extensive research and development efforts but serves as the hub for its business applications, from accepting customer orders over the Internet to supporting the core SAP infrastructure.
Roughly 900 servers are housed in the center, providing more than 1.1 petabytes of storage. That's about the same number of servers as in the old data center, but the addition of virtualization technology means increased capacity.
The data center was built to meet specifications under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which was devised by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED provides benchmarks to measure the environmental friendliness of a structure including sustainable site development, where steps are taken to preserve existing habitats, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality.
Monsanto anticipates the center will gain its LEED certification in the spring, making it the third LEED-certified center in the country. Fannie Mae opened the first LEED-certified data center, its Urbana Technology Center in Maryland, in August 2005, and insurer Highmark followed with its data center in Pennsylvania.