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Tech leaders support Earth Rangers’ green data centre


Dell, Nortel, Pillar and VMware products work together to create data centre that is small on space and big on energy savings

Toronto, Ontario – February 17, 2009 – Earth Rangers, a non-profit organization that empowers kids to improve the health of the planet, has created – with the help of Dell, Nortel, Pillar and VMware – a data centre that is 10 times smaller than it could have been, and is expected to save over 111,000 kWh per year; or the equivalent of more than 26 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

“The data centre is our latest effort to make the LEED Gold Earth Rangers Centre ‘a living demonstration site’ for the greenest products and services, and to inspire other organizations to also embrace sustainable operations and practices,” said Peter Kendall, executive director at Earth Rangers.

“We are proud to have partnered with companies that are interested in showcasing their most energy-efficient technology at our facility and with their support we have been able to build a data centre that is industry leading,” said Gordon Jekubik, chief operating officer at Earth Rangers.

Earth Rangers’ green data centre is only 9.3 square metres (100 ft2) and the electricity required for computing (nearly 100 kWh per day) will be offset by the energy generated from the organization’s 28 kW photovoltaic array. The data centre was initiated in May last year as the organization prepared to double its staff in order to launch its new, children’s Web site last fall at as well as its redesigned, organizational site at

“The data centre is an extremely impressive achievement. It is clear Earth Rangers took the time to plan holistically, rather than attack the server room piecemeal. I hope businesses who tour the site will rip a page right from this playbook,” said Aaron Hay, research consultant, Info-Tech Research Group.

The main goal in developing the data centre was to increase performance and stability to support the amount of data-intensive content involved in creating the Web sites, while keeping energy usage low and costs realistic. Energy consumption has only doubled even though performance has increased more than tenfold.

“The Pillar Axiom allows companies like Earth Rangers to purchase up to 50 per cent less storage by guaranteeing the industry’s highest levels of utilization, while also guaranteeing required performance levels for each data type. The inherent efficiency of the Pillar approach also helps drive down energy costs by up to 75 per cent,” said Mike Workman, CEO and chairman, Pillar Data Systems. “Earth Rangers is a true pioneer in preserving the environment it inhabits and Pillar is very pleased to complement Earth Rangers’ philosophy of sustainability.”

Earth Rangers has created a virtual infrastructure consisting of data storage servers from Pillar, Dell’s processing servers and virtual personal machines using VMware’s View software – enabling the workforce to draw power for applications and operating systems simultaneously and dynamically as needed from interconnected servers. Nortel’s Power over Ethernet (PoE) switching facilitates the transfer of electrical power and data across the infrastructure.

“Dell is committed to delivering the most energy-efficient products, from the desktop to the data centre, to help our customers reduce costs and meet their environmental goals,” said Dr. Albert Esser, vice president of power and infrastructure solutions, Dell. “By utilizing our PowerEdge server platform, Earth Rangers can not only improve energy efficiency, but maximize performance as well, enabling it to compute more and consume less in its data centre environment.”

Virtualization has allowed Earth Rangers to better manage its desktop environment. It has reduced the need for expensive, energy-intensive desktops as the majority of storage and processing power is now coming from the data centre. As well, new software and upgrades are easily provided to all staff from a single location instead of to each computer.

In the future, the heat energy generated by the data centre’s cooling equipment will be recovered and used to help heat the building and/or domestic hot water. The cooling unit is more energy-efficient than most as it is able to power-down to 40 per cent of its capacity. This is better than going from zero to full capacity and vise versa, which requires more electricity.

Additional savings will be realized with Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology from Nortel, which will enable more than half of Earth Rangers’ staff to work from home effectively, saving travel time and costs, and reducing pollution caused by driving to work every day. While Earth Rangers’ carpool network helps reduce the organization’s indirect carbon emissions, it is estimated that its VPN capabilities will help eliminate over 23 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

“We’re proud to see Earth Rangers employees using Nortel technology to gain immediate and long-term benefits in their day to day operations,” said Ron McDougall, Nortel’s regional vice president for Canada. “Earth Rangers is working smarter while lessening its impact on the environment through the adoption of Nortel’s energy-efficient switching. As the Earth Rangers Centre becomes increasingly automated, the robust Nortel network will only serve to increase Earth Rangers effectiveness.”

The green data centre has been incorporated into the tour of the centre, which is given to thousands of people each year from various industries including finance, architecture, manufacturing, government, technology and environment. “As part of a larger building automation project, people touring the Earth Rangers Centre will be able to see, in real time, exactly how our IT infrastructure is using and saving energy,” added Kendall.

About Earth Rangers
Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that empowers kids to improve the health of the planet. Building on kids’ natural connection to wildlife, its live shows and children’s Web site,, motivate hundreds of thousands of kids each year to make realistic, lifestyle changes. Earth Rangers lives its values; its building has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation from the Canada Green Building Council, and uses 79 per cent less energy than a typical building its size. Visit for more information.



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