Microsoft's new datacentre in Gigiri



April 1, 2011 – Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a datacentre at the UN offices at Gigiri, the first of its kind on African soil.

Dubbed the Microsoft ITPAC datacenter, it aims to take the United Nations a step further in attaining its goal of becoming 100% environmental friendly in the 21st century. 

The building is supposedly designed to use much less power than was thought possible to run a normal building, scoped to host upto 1,500 office workers in the new offices within the building.

UN Boss Ban-Ki Moon who was the guest of honour at the launch, also attended by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, commended the entire Microsoft, HP and Saiver team for their exemplary work towards reducing the carbon footprint.

With IT often quoted as one of the most energy intensive contributors to a building’s carbon footprint, Microsoft’s ITPAC datacentre technology is critical in ensuring the UN is able to achieve its green IT goals in Nairobi.

“Our new office building in Nairobi is a showcase of how modern design and sustainable IT can play a critical role in helping organisations globally address the climate change and achieve energy neutrality. New technology in both IT infrastructure and lighting is enabling companies everywhere to embrace green IT and create sustainable 21st century working environments,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director for UNEP. 

“At the UN, we are committed to making our operations more environmentally friendly. The Microsoft ITPAC centre had been critical in achieving this goal.”

The ITPAC datacentre technology is said to increase efficiency and reduce costs in a number of ways. It uses outside air for primary cooling and is based on a design that makes it easy to manufacture even locally thus reducing the overall carbon footprint.

In terms of efficiency, the PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) is reduced to a ratio of between 1.05 and 1.15 down from the normal 2.0 ratio through thoughtful and efficient design, cooling strategies and intelligent site selection – which is a great improvement from previous datacentres.

“With the new headquarters, UNEP is at the forefront of the UN’s adoption of green IT,” said Frank McCosker, Managing Director, Microsoft Global Strategic Accounts. 

“With the building’s innovative use of design and technology, the UN’s Nairobi headquarters will not only deliver much enhanced energy efficiency, but will also have the infrastructure in place to leverage more flexible and scalable technologies like cloud computing. We hope this truly sustainable building will motivate others to become a part of a community, which is vital for a greener future.” 

The new UN office building hosts 6,000 square metres of solar panels and is the result of a committed partnership between UN-HABITAT, UNEP, local architects, contractors and international technology firms like Saiver, Microsoft Global and HP.

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