Feeds

Inside HP's latest global bit barn

New Sydney data centre will serve global customers

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Grand slam metrics

HP has adopted a new area metric – the tennis court – to size the centre. We’re happy to report, therefore, that 48 Nadal-vs.-Djokovic-sized spaces reside under Aurora’s roof. Just nine courts worth are currently kitted out and those are part of what’s called “Cell 1”. Cells 1 and 2 reside inside a single “shell”. A second shell has two more cells, while a third will offer an additional single-cell shell. Each shell is independently powered, fed, watered, fireproofed and connected to the outside world.

No data centre launch goes by without someone trying to say how green it is. Aurora is no exception as HP says the centre has a power usage effectiveness rating of 1.3, which means that for every watt that enters the building, one will go straight to IT kit. The rest goes to coolers, lights and the rest of the kit necessary to run a data centre. HP is chuffed to have hit 1.3, and says those high ceilings are a big help. There’s also a roof-load of heat exchangers that take warm air out and return it at just 24 celsius. The company says until the outside temperature hits 33 celsius there’s very little rooftop action, with passive cooling the main approach to managing the internal climate.

The site does get rather hot: a reporter from the local newspaper the Blacktown Sun asked HP spokesfolk how Aurora would cope with a repeat of last summer, when the mercury passed 45 celsius for five consecutive days and didn’t fall below 28 at night. HP feel sure Aurora will do just fine (and please don’t imagine Eastern Creek is some kind of antipodean hellmouth: the part of Sydney it’s in gets regular winter frosts).

The site has room for another two five-shell buildings and once those arrive HP will construct its own electricity sub-stations on site.

An aerial view of the Aurora data centre

An aerial view of Aurora, with the current facility at left and space for new data halls at right.

Security

Security is very tight: dignitaries who opened the giant shed last Wednesday, including Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, were forced to do so in a marquee set up in a car park. HP even laid on a rolling loo (complete with icky hand-pumped flush mechanism) to ensure no-one needed to enter Aurora.

Conroy was not fazed by that facility and declared the AUD$200m centre a sign of extreme confidence in Australia's non-recessionary economy, while local HP bods talked up a long queue of customers waiting to pass through its mystic portal.

Speaking of that portal, it includes a feature called a “man trap”, a round airlock-like door that has measures the weight of occupants. If two people stand on the man trap, it won’t open and security guards will arrive promptly to ask why you didn’t read the “NO TAILGATING” signs present in the lobby. HP supplied even the lobby photo, as your correspondent was not allowed to photograph any part of Aurora’s interior. Nor is any other visitor allowed to capture images.

The not-to-be-photographed lobby of HP's Sydney data centre, Aurora

The not-to-be-photographed lobby of HP's Aurora data centre

Palm-reading biometric devices are required to enter many areas of the centre and only some security personnel are rated to allow entry.

El Reg’s visit was therefore accompanied by a guard, and we had to leave our phone, laptop and dignity at the door.

Three Australian enterprise have already moved to Aurora, and CIOs from each – rural services provider Elders, Downer EDI and energy company Origin – declared the centre will help them to get away from the mucky business of running their own IT and instead make all sorts of things HP’s problem.

HP’s South Pacific Managing Director David Caspari beamed during their rehearsed testimonials, but did make a rather nervous joke when one of the CIOs offered a definition of cloud as “when I stop using, I stop paying.” ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.