UW-IT datacenter infrastructure, our own private cloud
University of Washington
June 2012

A significant portion of the power consumed on the UW campus is used to power and cool large-scale computer rooms known as data centers. These data centers house the computer, storage and networks necessary to operate a major enterprise like the University of Washington, all of which must be powered and cooled without interruption 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Unfortunately, the energy required for these power and cooling functions generates carbon, which is a greenhouse gas detrimental to the atmosphere.   

UW-IT’s Data Center Strategy and Operations (DCSO) team is responsible for the operations of the university’s centrally-managed campus data centers.  They are committed to reducing the carbon footprints of these facilities while continuing to grow capacity to serve campus customers.  This is being done by implementing measures to reduce existing power consumption and slow the growth of future power increases.  

In the 2012 fiscal year, DCSO staff implemented improvements to the operating efficiency of power-consuming equipment at the two large-scale data centers that avoided production of more than 2.9 million pounds of carbon. Despite increasing data center server load during that period by 63%, the operational efficiencies undertaken resulted in only a 0.3% increase in use of power to support that load.  Additionally, recent investments into more efficient power equipment have reduced the overall power consumption in the data centers by more than 173,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), which not only cuts carbon production, but saves on the cost of purchasing power from the utility company, Seattle City Light.

Fun Facts: 
UWIT has five data centers, one of these can consume as much as 6 million kilowatt hours of power in a single year
Project Contact Name: 
Greg Couch
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