ciscodatacenter_0Cisco has opened a new “green” data center in Allen, Texas, offering a broad range of computing and cloud storage capabilities packaged in an environmentally friendly facility complete with ecologically responsible solutions to aspects like power consumption and cooling.

The new facility is part of Cisco’s ongoing push to offer IT as a service via its own hosting facilities. The Allen data center is “paired” with another based in Richardson to form what the company calls a metro virtual data center or MVDC—a virtualized IT cloud that also does the double duty of backing each other up and offer more resiliency for services offered out of each center. The MVDC setup—which Cisco plans to replicate in two more locations—will form the core foundation for Cisco’s private cloud, known as Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services.

For IT pros, redundant and highly available facilities like this new configuration from Cisco means more reliable access to cloud-based applications like hosting, storage, video, mobility, security and collaboration—along with the potential cost savings that comes with eliminating on-premises IT hardware and necessary real estate. Plus, IT pros can have the added feel-good and carbon reduction value of helping protect environmental resources thanks to Cisco’s green build approach. Cleantech research from Pike Research forecasts that cloud computing will reduce global energy usage 38 percent by 2020.

On the green front, Cisco’s new facility features a number of green design and operational elements. The facility is cooled by a system that uses outside fresh air, which Cisco estimates can be used 65 percent of the time and save $600,000 per year in cooling costs. A lagoon captures rainwater to irrigate landscaping around the building, and solar cells on the room generate 100 kilowatts of power for the office space in the data center.

In a blog post, Cisco IT architect Douglas Alger discusses additional aspects of the new data center design and how it is designed to help both Cisco and the customers that use it save money (and, the company hopes, the planet):

The Data Center’s cabinets have exhaust chimneys that allow hot air generated by hardware to flow into a plenum space and avoid mixing with incoming chilled air.  This helps the cooling system operate more efficiently.  (We used a similar design in our Richardson Data Center, too.) [And] If anything in a Data Center’s standby infrastructure is going to fail it’s the batteries, so I’m happy to dispense with a static UPS at this site. The rotary UPS contains a large, spinning flywheel and in the event of a utility power failure that kinetic energy will supply several seconds of ride-through power, long enough to transfer the Data Center’s electrical load to standby generators.