In 2014, Pixar Studios decided to consolidate their existing render, network, and storage servers into the Renderfarm server room. Integral Group collaborated with Pixar to substantially increase the efficiency of the data center, as well as to improve the reliability of the support equipment.

Emeryville’s mild climate favors compressor-free cooling, so Integral Group designed cooling towers and heat exchangers to cool the Renderfarm. Most data center cooling systems require energy-intensive and failure-prone air compressors, but at Pixar water-cooled equipment was utilized. This waterside economizing process provides 75°F water directly to the cooling units in the server room to maintain a workable temperature in the space.

The electrical system includes dual one-megawatt uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units for back-up electricity. All energy provided to the data center from the grid travels through the UPS equipment, which maintains 99% efficiency during normal operation.

Integral Group also performed detailed commissioning of all systems after installation. Through functional testing we confirmed that the systems are able to switch smoothly to Pixar’s generator in the event of a power loss. The result is not only one of the most energy-efficient data centers in operation, but also one of the most reliable.

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