NCI’s data centre houses all of our supercomputing, cloud computing and data storage systems.

The data centre features various innovative electrical distribution and cooling solutions to maintain peak performance for all of our systems. Over 2 megawatts of electrical power gets distributed between our systems, with air and water cooling in use throughout.

The NCI supercomputer Raijin, columns of black computer servers separated by stacks of in-row fans, in a big white room.

We use a highly efficient free cooling solution to deal with all the heat produced. This has been a key design feature of the building since its inauguration in late 2012. By leveraging the cooling properties of evaporating water, free cooling can efficiently remove excess heat from the processors, hard drives and server racks.

These are set up so that heat generated from the computers is drawn over cool water radiators, thereby heating the water and removing the heat from the data centre air. The hot water is then piped to the data centre roof from where it evaporates and disperses the heat it carries.

Canberra’s low humidity and relatively low temperatures makes it an ideal place to employ free cooling. For days when the humidity does get too high for efficient evaporative cooling, we can put some industrial chillers to work to cool down the water instead. Overall, NCI continues to improve and optimise the electrical and cooling efficiency of our data centre.