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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)

Author Topic: Waterfalls and flywheels: General Motors’ new hyper-green data center  (Read 2266 times)

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Waterfalls and flywheels: General Motors’ new hyper-green data center

WARREN, Michigan—General Motors has gone through a major transformation since emerging from bankruptcy three years ago.  Now cashflow-positive, the company is in the midst of a different transformation—a three-year effort to reclaims its own IT after 20 years of outsourcing.

The first physical manifestation of that transformation is here at Warren, where GM has built the first of two enterprise data centers. The $150 million Warren Enterprise Data Center will cut the company's energy consumption for its enterprise IT infrastructure by 70 percent, according to GM's CIO Randy Mott. If those numbers hold up, the center will pay for itself with that and other savings from construction within three years.

Mott recently announced that GM's efforts to make the Warren data center's construction eco-friendly—including its energy-saving measures, solar-powered electric car charging stations in the parking lot, and recycling of 99 percent of construction waste—have earned the center a LEED "gold" certification from the US Green Building Council. Less than five percent of data centers have LEED certification.

The data center is part of a much larger "digital transformation" at the company, Mott said. GM is consolidating its IT operations from 23 data centers scattered around the globe (most of them leased) and hiring its own system engineers and developers for the first time since 1996. Within the next three to five years, GM expects to hire 8,500 new IT employees with 1,600 of them in Warren. "We're already at about the 7,000 mark for internal IT from our start point of about 1,700," Mott said.

On September 5, Jeff Liedel, GM's Executive Director and CIO for Infrastructure Engineering, gave Ars a personal tour of the Warren data center. While GM's needs are far different from that of big Internet companies such as Amazon, Facebook, or Google, it's clear that the automaker has cribbed from their notes on how to build data centers and how to create spaces that drive collaboration.

While it will be years before GM reaches the capacity of the Warren data center, the company has already begun construction on another data center at the company's Milford proving grounds. Mott reiterated the expectation that the Warren site will pay for itself within three years. The savings won't just come from the 70 percent reduction in energy consumption, but there's a "holistic" effect of closing the 23 data centers around the world from GM's days of IT outsourcing.

"In the IT business, you only get to build a data center once every 20 years or so," Liedel said.  "We needed to get this right."

Read more at: Waterfalls and flywheels: General Motors’ new hyper-green data center
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... and in about 18 years they will start outsourcing again...

One just has to love the cycli where even IT does not escape from...

From Server to Host and from Host back to Cloud.

Same principle will apply here.


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