Modeling for Green Data Centers

A stimulating conversation with a data center executive got me thinking about modeling for a Green Data Center, and what method would make sense for modeling method. Given my software background, my first look was at Universal Model Language (UML).

Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a standardized general-purpose modeling language in the field of software engineering. UML includes a set of graphical notation techniques to create abstract models of specific systems, referred to as UML model.

After looking at how UML could be used in IT for data center design, I hit upon Systems Modeling Language (SysML).

The Systems Modeling Language (SysML), is a Domain-Specific Modeling language for systems engineering. It supports the specification, analysis, design, verification and validation of a broad range of systems and systems-of-systems.

The dominant group influencing the creation of SysML were aerospace and defense contractors who build complex systems integrating hardware, software, and people. A SysML FAQ points out strengths of SysML vs. UML.

SysML offers systems engineers the following advantages over UML for specifying systems and systems-of-systems:

  • SysML expresses systems engineering semantics (interpretations of notations) better than than UML. It reduces UML's software bias and adds two new diagram types for requirements management and performance analysis: Requirement diagrams and Parametric diagrams, respectively.

  • SysML is smaller and easier to learn than UML. Since SysML removes many software-centric and gratuitous constructs, the overall language is smaller as measured in diagram types (9 vs. 13) and total constructs.

  • SysML allocation tables support various kinds of allocations (e.g., requirement allocation, functional allocation, structural allocation) thereby facilitating automated verification and validation (V&V) and gap analysis.

  • SysML model management constructs support the specification of models, views, and viewpoints and are architecturally aligned with IEEE-Std-1471-2000 (IEEE Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems).

Looking for whether anyone who has used SysML in data center construction I hit upon a google forum thread.

Do any of you know or have heard of SysML being used to model building systems in the construction-industry (parametric building design, logistics/processes, etc)?

Here is the response from a SysML architect.

Here's a short analysis.  First, let me say that I am an Aerospace kinda
guy.  I have worked just about every aspect of it spending about 20 years in
the Skunkworks and beyond.  I am also a Enterprise Architect and specialize
in interoperability and NetCentric Operations.  Most recently I have been
helping out in Disaster Relief and Recovery as well.  The answer to your
question is that no, I haven't heard of it being used yet and it's probably
because SysML spec has only been out about a year.  Second part is most
definitely it can apply.  Especially when the construction looks at the
larger "Enterprise" context which would apply to more than the construction
of the building itself but the infrastructure of the environment such as
urban planning, green enterprise application and those things that are
beyond cement and wires.

My first recommendation is to read Tim's book (System Engineering with
SysML/UML).  If I was given the task of "parametric building design, etc.,",
I would view the task using Tim's SysMOD process.  It's not an end all, but
it's a start.  Secondly, I would look at some the advances in "Green
Enterprise Architecture".  These are those initiatives that could be applied
to help the construction domain with the rapid advances of the green
enterprise.  I think that it's very useful to view these things from the
domain of the customer that "wants to do the right thing" for the
environment.  This is where the SysML modeling tools can help a bunch.

Why would you model?  Consider this matrix for benefits of modeling.