Photo tour: inside a NetApp data center

Published on 20th February 2013 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik

Along with announcing to the world its first all-flash storage array Tuesday, NetApp took a group of reporters on a tour of one of three data centers it has at its Sunnyvale, California, headquarters.

The 5.7MW facility, used by the company's engineers, was completed in 2008. About 20% of it is mission-critical, meaning that portion of it has all the redundant supporting infrastructure typical enterprise-IT data centers do.

The rest of the infrastructure supports engineering applications that do not require 24/7 uptime.

Here is a visual tour of the facility's key components:


The cold aisle.


The hot aisle.


A rack of servers.


Multiple generations of NetApp storage.


600 gigs a node


Some more NetApp storage.


More IT gear staged for deployment in the expansion space.


Outside-air-intake filters. NetApp uses a lot of outside air to cool the data center, maintaining server inlet air temperature at 72F.


The data center has 14 gigantic air handlers installed in two identical rooms. All cooling is overhead. There is no raised floor in this data center.


An air-handling unit close-up.


NetApp's director of site operations Ralph Renne shows a system for testing air quality inside the data center. Since the facility takes in a lot of outside air for cooling, it has to be tested for particulate matter and corrosive gases. Filters on the outside-air intake prevent most of the particulate matter from getting in. If corrosive gases are detected, the data center switches to 100% mechanical cooling.


The critical workloads in the data center are backed up by flywheel UPS systems by Cat.


A diesel generator picks up the load when power goes out. The facility goes through about five utility power outages per year, according to Renne.



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Yevgeniy is a San Francisco-based journalist who has covered the data center industry for DatacenterDynamics since June 2009. Prior to that, he was a local daily newspaper reporter in California. He has a degree in journalism from San Francisco State University.

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