High-performance computing data Green IT Cube of GSI/FAIR continues to carry Blue Angel


Following successful recertification, GSI/FAIR's high-performance data center Green IT Cube continues to bear the Blue Angel, the German government's eco-label. Thanks to a special cooling system, the data center is particularly energy-efficient and conserves resources. The conditions for the Blue Angel are reviewed and revised at regular intervals. In order to retain the seal, the Green IT Cube has been adapted to the new criteria.

The Green IT Cube is a particularly energy-efficient data center. The energy required to cool the computers is very low compared to conventional data centers, as the computers are cooled using an innovative air and water method. The energy required for cooling corresponds to less than seven percent of the electrical power used for computing, instead of 30 to 100 percent, as is the case in conventional data centers with air cooling.

The effective cooling technology allows a space-saving placement of the computers in the Green IT Cube. In a cube-shaped building measuring 27 x 30 x 22 cubic meters, a total of 768 computer racks can be arranged closely together on six floors. Three of the six floors are currently equipped with a maximum cooling capacity of four megawatts. In the final stage, the Green IT Cube will be able to reach a cooling power of twelve megawatts. Due to saving energy and space, it is very cost-efficient. In addition, the waste heat of the Green IT Cube’s servers is being used to heat a modern office and canteen building on the GSI/FAIR campus.

For the recertification, the IT experts at GSI/FAIR had to meet some new criteria: For example, retired IT equipment can no longer be scrapped, but must be given to a refurbishing service. Energy for the entire data center must be supplied to 100% from renewable sources. For each individual server, CPU and memory utilization must be recorded and made available. An energy measurement upstream of the transformers was retrofitted to expand the monitoring system. All measurement concepts and an energy management system are provided. Once all these requirements had been met, nothing stood in the way of the Blue Angel at the Green IT Cube.

Scientists use the Green IT Cube to perform simulations and develop detectors for FAIR. They also analyze measurement data recorded in experiments at the accelerator facilities at GSI and, in the future, FAIR, to gain fundamental insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe. To this end, the Green IT Cube will be equipped in the long term with computer systems that meet the scientists' requirements in terms of computing power, storage capacity and access speed.

In addition, the Green IT Cube has been expanded into an IT living lab, called the Digital Open Lab, to carry out research and development projects on the more sustainable operation of data centers, together with industrial partners. Likewise, partners from the scientific environment have the opportunity to use the data center for their research work.

The Blue Angel has been the German government's environmental label for over 45 years. It identifies environmentally friendly products and services. More than 30,000 products and services from over 1,600 companies have been awarded the Blue Angel, but currently only four data centers, one of which is the Green IT Cube. (CP)

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