The data center, which requires a long planning time, was set up in August / September 2017 within 5 weeks. The total of 5 DC ITSafes from RZ-Products GmbH (a subsidiary of the DATA CENTER GROUP) are located in an almost 150 meter high Enercon wind turbine as an operator model in the Lichtenau wind farm near Paderborn.
Using renewable energies for data centers is a well-known topic. Plants that use biogases, geothermal energy or water are already in operation. What is new, however, is the WestfalenWIND idea. The electricity provider uses its own green energy and has built a data center in one of its wind turbines.
The data center serves as a pilot project for colocation data centers and shows completely new ways for green IT according to German security standards. The project was planned and implemented with the dtm group and the DATA CENTER GROUP as partners. Together, the two companies were the only ones able to show a solution to implement a data center in the wind power plant.
WestfalenWIND GmbH has made the development and use of wind power energy for its East Westphalian home region its mission. A total of 260 wind turbines are used for this purpose. With a view to its future business strategy, the company has decided to refine its product and offer electricity as a service for data centers.
As is well known, this is the biggest cost factor of a data center. This creates a win-win situation: users of the future data centers can obtain cheap electricity directly from WestfalenWIND and at the same time the company can use the electricity that cannot be fed into the grid. Because: With a data center as your own consumer, the idle times can be used effectively, during which no green electricity can be produced due to overload reasons. However, a container data center should not simply be set up next to the tower that taps the electricity. The aim was to use the existing space in the tower and to install the data center here.
For this purpose, WestfalenWIND had been looking for an IT service provider for several years. With the dtm group from Meckenbeuren on Lake Constance, a partner was finally found who was the only one able to offer a feasible solution. The challenge for the IT service provider was to make maximum use of the space of the height units and, conversely, not to obstruct the service routes for the technicians.
In other words, an IT security cell was excluded from the start. At the same time, a concept for the power supply had to be drawn up. Although there is an abundance of this, it had to be channeled and used for redundancies. The two trades wind power and data center should not influence each other. Neither in terms of electromagnetic compatibility nor in terms of the much more complicated fire protection.
In order to implement the air conditioning, the power supply as well as the technical and structural fire protection in a relatively compact space, the planning phase lasted nine months in great detail.
“The implementation of the data center went very quickly. We started installing the first IT infrastructure at the end of August. A week later, the data cabling and wiring in the tower followed. The air conditioning was installed again a week later. The data center has been operational since the beginning of October, ”explains Frithjof Dubberke, IT manager at WestfalenWIND. In order to make optimal use of the compact space, dtm decided to link four separate racks, of which only two cabinets are fixed.
The other two can be dismantled at short notice, for example when a transformer is being serviced. In order to guarantee fire protection in accordance with DIN EN 1047-2, in addition to a fire alarm system and early fire detection, the so-called mini data centers (DC IT safes) of the RZproducts were specially built. They are proven to be the most fire-resistant mini data centers in the world! A modular UPS with redundant controllers N + 1 was designed for the complete capacity in the data center, which can also supply all other trades for 15 to 20 minutes.
There is also the option of connecting an external emergency power system to the data center. The secondary connection of the data center is implemented via a second network operator and is therefore unique in Germany. The certification by the TÜV provides for an availability class (VK) 3 of the tower. However, since further towers will follow, all of which can boast VK 3 for themselves, the failure probability due to the cluster of UPSs, power connection, air conditioning and data connection is zero. The wind farm as a data center thus achieves a VK 4.
The tower data center is the first of a wind farm planned as a colocation data center. The strategy is to equip many towers with data centers. Companies rent themselves in the wind farm and then host their data in, for example, three different towers.
For this purpose, single-mode fibers were laid in the entire wind farm in order to map a data network with a very fast infrastructure. Dubberke: “The University of Paderborn is our first customer and will carry out a test run for about half a year.
Since it is heavily involved in big data analysis, the university benefits accordingly from the electricity prices. The powerful servers and computers actually use the 10 kW of heat per cabinet that we can dissipate. Of course, we benefit from the experience. "
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