Home > eBay chooses GE Quad PAC redundancy control systems for mission critical uptime and lower power consumption

eBay chooses GE Quad PAC redundancy control systems for mission critical uptime and lower power consumption

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World-leading e-commerce company eBay chose the Quad PAC redundancy control systems from GE Intelligent Platforms as part of a mission critical requirement for uptime and reduced power consumption at their Topaz data centre.  

eBay’s transactions total approximately $60 billion per year in goods, which translates to almost $2,000 per second. GE’s Quad PAC redundancy control systems technology was chosen to increase the stability of eBay’s data centres, a critical component to their business strategy in terms of ensuring continuous power.  

A strategic infrastructure project was initiated in 2010 to increase the stability of eBay’s data centres as well as enable further growth. Located near Salt Lake City, Utah, Topaz was the first data centre built from scratch by the company and also the beginning of a project to reduce eBay’s use of co-located data centres while simultaneously reducing company-owned facilities.  

An additional objective was to create an eBay-only facility that would maximise efficiencies by tailoring capacity and availability to the specific needs of its core business. According to Dean Nelson, eBay Senior Director of Global Foundational Services, their data centres accounted for over 50% of their global power usage, necessitating economic and ecological efficiency.  

eBay worked with RTKL on the Topaz facility, conceptualised as a greenfield development that focused on the design principles of reliability, maintainability, sustainability and efficiency. As a result of the design and construction efforts, and the subsequent power usage savings, the Topaz facility achieved a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating in 2010.  

A ring bus with six breaker transfer switchgear was specified at Topaz to provide the high availability (Tier IV design) that eBay wanted, and minimise the requirements of redundant switchgear and generator plant.  

The Tier IV design required the distribution equipment as well as the controls to be fault tolerant, therefore generator control switchgear from Russelectric was commissioned. The Russelectric team pre-tested, qualified and implemented the GE Quad PAC redundant control system on the project.  

Key features of GE Quad PAC redundancy control systems:  

  • Consists of a Master Controller and three synchronised backup controllers 
  • ‘Smart Redundancy’ algorithm continually calculates the relative system availability in real time and delivers predictive analysis on key process input variables 
  • Leverages Ethernet-based I/O devices that can seamlessly arbitrate its control from one of the four controllers in the system 
  • System identifies the best backup controller to take over if the Master Controller, or any system component fails 
  • Provides the capability to withstand the next sequence of multiple or cascaded system failures     
Quad PAC controlled switchgears are designed with a voting scheme where triple inputs are sent to the PLC system and the best of the three dictates the state of the device. This helps reduce wiring issues, loose connections over time and the impact of human error, which accounts for approximately 60% of all failures in a data centre. 
Nelson explains that the system offers three complete levels of backup, which prepares them for multiple failures at any point and provides them with the near-zero downtime needed for their mission critical data centres.   
Bernie Anger, Vice President of GE Intelligent Platforms Control & Communications Systems comments that the Quad PAC is a great solution for data centres, hospitals and other facilities where critical processes are automated, using predictive intelligence to provide security and peace of mind to organisations that cannot afford downtime. 
GE Intelligent Platforms is an experienced high-performance technology company and a global provider of software, hardware, services, and expertise in automation and embedded computing solutions.

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