Goldman Sachs adopts modular datacentres to save costs, improve efficiency

In its bid to reduce carbon footprint and save energy costs, investment bank Goldman Sachs has adopted modular datacentres in US, UK and Singapore

Goldman Sachs is launching a new datacentre strategy to achieve higher cost savings and improved IT energy efficiency. The investment bank will replace its existing real estate-based datacentre infrastructure with modular datacentre technology.

A modular datacentre is different from a traditional datacentre in that it is a portable infrastructure which is designed for rapid deployment, energy efficiency and computing density. It can be shipped to anywhere in the world and set up anywhere that has water and power sources, an internet connection and an external chiller unit.

It also helps businesses save time and cost in building their own datacentre. One type of modular datacentre is a containerised unit, or a datacentre in a box, which comes with its own cooling systems.

Many suppliers, including Cisco, VMware, EMC, IO and Sun Microsystems, offer products to help IT executives adopt a modular approach.

Goldman Sachs has selected technology provider IO as its long-term, strategic technology partner for its datacentre project. 

As part of the project, the bank’s IT team will implement the modular datacentre in its US IT operations this year, then implement in other locations, including the UK and Singapore, at a later date.

A modular datacentre can be shipped to anywhere in the world and set up anywhere that has water and power sources, an internet connection and an external chiller unit

It will use IO.Anywhere modular products in its internal datacentres, along with the IO.OS datacentre operating system, to gather business intelligence, real-time visibility and control of its environments, improving its datacentre performance.

Goldman Sachs did not reveal the terms or length of the service contract with IO.

Improving datacentre efficiency

“Making our datacentres green, reducing the carbon footprint and improving datacentre cooling systems are some of the key reasons we are installing modular datacentres,” said Tiffany Galvin, vice-president of media relations at Goldman Sachs.

The bank hopes that the modular datacentre technology will help it improve the energy conservation and power usage effectiveness (PUE) associated with its datacentre facilities.

Containerised datacentres help businesses achieve an average PUE rating of 1.05, compared with the average 1.3 when using air-conditioning units to cool IT equipment.

“The ability to scale our datacentres easily and more efficiently was also a big part of why we initiated this datacentre project,” Galvin added.

IO’s datacentre 2.0 strategy provides sustainable enhancements to the bank's datacentre operations, according to Don Duet, global co-chief operating officer of the technology division at Goldman Sachs.

Datacentre 2.0

Datacentre 2.0 is the term used to describe next-generation datacentre technologies and products that focus on green computing and help IT managers follow best practices to become more energy efficient.

In the traditional datacentre strategy, IT managers simply buy bare racks and populate them with servers. As the data volumes increase and business expands, they would add more racks and servers, thereby increasing the cost of real estate and infrastructure cooling. The racks and servers strategy also offers businesses low-density computing.

A modular infrastructure offers high-density computing. All datacentre managers should consider the wide range of pre-built modular datacentre systems while planning their infrastructure’s design to overcome cooling and capacity challenges, according to datacentre expert Clive Longbottom, who is service director at IT analysis firm Quocirca.

IT professionals who find the conventional approach of scaling out – buying bare racks and populating them with servers – inefficient should consider engineered racks, pods and containers in their datacentre design, said Longbottom.

“Datacentre 2.0 is the fundamental shift in the way datacentres are assembled, consumed and operated,” said Ricky Cooper, vice-president of enterprise sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa IO.

“It is a new operating paradigm in which the datacentre becomes the foundation of business alignment and IT transformation, creating a sustainable competitive advantage for conducting business,” he added.

Adopting the datacentre 2.0 strategy will help Goldman Sachs transform its enterprise datacentre complexity into a simplified plug and play infrastructure model.

“IO’s integrated datacentre infrastructure technology platform provides customers such as Goldman Sachs with off-the-shelf standardised datacentre capacity units and operating system controls that can be consumed as a product or as a service,” said Cooper.

The modular datacentre strategy is part of Goldman Sachs’s commitment to green technology. In May 2012, the company announced plans to invest $40bn (£24.6bn) in clean energy products over a 10-year timeframe.

A recent report from Pike Research estimated that a growing number of cash-strapped datacentre managers are looking at making their datacentres energy-efficient amid rising power costs, growing volumes of IT equipment, and stricter carbon emission regulations. The research forecast that the green datacentre market would reach $45.5bn (£28bn) by 2016.  



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