AMD's New Atlanta Data Center Showcases Chip Maker's Technology

1 -AMD's New Atlanta Data Center Showcases Chip Maker's Technology
2 - In Charge of AMD's Consolidation Effort
3 - AMD Data Center From the Outside
4 - At the Controls
5 - Getting Systems Ready for Use
6 - AMD's Diamond Data Hall
7 - Powering AMD's Business
8 - Keeping the Hot Aisles Hot
9 - The Cycle of Data Center Air
10 - Powering the Data Halls
11 - Storage for Tape Storage
12 - Looking Into the Future
13 - Even More Computing Space
14 - Laying the Groundwork
15 - The Fresh Georgia Air
16 - Keeping the Air Safe
17 -  Cooling the Data Center
18 - Keeping the Water Cool
19 - In Case of Water Emergency
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AMD's New Atlanta Data Center Showcases Chip Maker's Technology

by Jeffrey Burt

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In Charge of AMD's Consolidation Effort

Overseeing the massive undertaking are Andy Bynum, corporate vice president of global infrastructure and operations at AMD, left, and Jake Dominquez, the company's corporate vice president and CIO.

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AMD Data Center From the Outside

The facility doesn't look like much from the outside, where it's distinguished from other nearby buildings by the address on the front of the building. However, once it's fully stocked next year, it will run AMD's entire North American operations—from its business units to its engineering efforts.

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At the Controls

Lamar Washington, critical environment manager for AMD at the Georgia data center, talks about the building management system that enables administrators to keep track of everything going on in the facility, from the health of the servers to the amount of power being used. AMD employs 21 people to keep the data center up and running.

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Getting Systems Ready for Use

In the center's staging room, engineers test systems before they are used in the facility's data halls. These servers are from AMD's Austin facility.

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AMD's Diamond Data Hall

The Suwanee data center, which is being built in a modular fashion, has room for up to 10 data halls. Currently, two are up and running, including the Diamond Data Hall, which is pictured here. Each data hall is 1,500 square feet, and runs servers from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, as well as AMD's own ServerMicro business.

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Powering AMD's Business

These HP servers, housed in the Citrine Data Hall, are among those being used by AMD to run its business and engineering operations. The two data halls house 204 racks of computing equipment. By virtualizing more than 90 percent of its servers, AMD was able to decommission 76 percent of the physical systems and 72 percent of the virtual machines used in Austin. The company also compressed rack space by 45 percent.

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Keeping the Hot Aisles Hot

A key part of the data center's efficiency is keeping the hot aisles between racks as hot as possible, according to AMD's Washington. Plastic flaps at the entrances to the aisles are used to keep the hot air contained.

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The Cycle of Data Center Air

Cold air is pumped from the floor into the cold aisles, then sucked in through the front of the racks to cool the equipment. The hot air is discharged out the back of the racks into the hot aisles, where the air is moved through vents in the ceiling and into these cooling units, where the air is cooled and sent back into the data center. Nine cooling units are used for each data hall.

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Powering the Data Halls

Each data hall has a room that houses the generators that keep the systems running as well as the UPS backup systems to ensure there's no downtime if a generator fails.

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Storage for Tape Storage

AMD uses this room to store tapes that each hold up to 1,600 gigabits of data.

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Looking Into the Future

The Diamond and Citrine data halls constitute only two of 10 that can fit into the center. The massive space shown here can house up to six more data halls, according to AMD executives.

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Even More Computing Space

Two other data halls will be housed in this space in the facility.

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Laying the Groundwork

AMD engineers have begun getting this part of the data center ready for another data hall, putting in such basics as the pipes for the chilled water that will help keep the data hall cool.

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The Fresh Georgia Air

Given its Southern location, AMD doesn't use outside "free" air much to help cool the Suwanee facility. However, there are times when it's cold enough outside—like around 45 degrees or lower—that the air can be used, Washington said. The orange pipes pictured here help bring in air from the outside.

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Keeping the Air Safe

The AMD facility has a system that analyzes the air in the data center for any problems or smoke. The orange pipes here "sniff" the air and feed it into the system.

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Cooling the Data Center

The pipes in this part of the facility chill and pump cold water throughout the data center. The system runs 752 gallons of water each minute. The chains with the green tags enable administrators to isolate water valves as needed.

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Keeping the Water Cool

Outside the chiller room are the units that make sure the water is cooled before it's pumped through the data center.

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In Case of Water Emergency

Should anything disrupt the main water supply, data center administrators can tap the water in this 60,000-gallon storage tank, which AMD's Washington said would give the facility about 36 minutes of water.

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