Let’s admit it – Data Centers are tremendous energy guzzlers. Anti-Green. But, you wouldn’t have much of a reason to think about improving the energy efficiency of data centers just because you need to make the earth a greener place to live in. But there is another, more compelling reason for every company to increase their data center efficiency – the reduction in their electricity bills (running costs), and in many cases, reduction in capital expenditure required for building data centers, as well.
But just how do we achieve it? Well, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, as two of the largest cloud companies – Facebook & Google teach people how they have improved the energy efficiency of their – some of the world’s largest – data centers. I think every company should share their data center building/energy efficiency best practices, openly. It benefits everyone. Needless to say, it makes the earth a little bit greener.
In the above video, Facebook‘s Thomas Furlong, explains the measures they’ve taken to build a green data center that not only saves 11 – 17% of electricity, but is also 24% less expensive to build! He speaks about a number of energy efficiency measures taken by Facebook including the installation of LED lights operated by motion sensors, using evaporative cooling (instead of mechanical cooling) that uses cold air from outside to cool the servers, replacing the centralized UPS system with a distributed rack-level UPS system, using both AC & DC connections for servers to connect to both the grid and UPS, using custom energy-efficient open compute servers that are vanity free and uses no extra plastic than what is actually required, and much more.
I recommend you to see the above video and then have a look at their Open Compute project where they share all the details (including specifications) of the components used to increase the energy efficiency of their data centers.
In the above video, Google‘s engineers explain how they improved the PUE (Power Utilization Effectiveness) of their data centers from almost around 2.0 to less than 1.2, in a few years. The elucidate why it is important to have all the instrumentation to measure the PUE factor, how they manage the air flow after monitoring the real-time hot-spots and guiding the air flow based on the modelling data, how they use curtains and metal doors to isolate cold isle and hot isle, how increasing the temperature in the cold isle (by a small factor) saves energy and makes it more comfortable for the technicians to work inside, how they utilize the free cold air from outside (through evaporative cooling techniques) and even cold sea water (in certain countries), to cool the data center, and much more.
After watching the above video, have a look at their Data Centers website where they document the various techniques used in improving the energy efficiency of their data centers, and how they effectively use renewable energy to power their data centers.
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