Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Water emerging as a key data center tool
As servers and other data center equipment face growing power consumption rates, many data center operators are evaluating more creative methods to improve efficiency. Using water to support advanced cooling systems is emerging as a popular tactic, the New York Times reports.
The report said two major data center developers, Google and PEER 1 Hosting, are helping lead the charge toward water-based cooling systems by deploying creative systems to support innovative and energy efficient temperature control in the data center.
For Google, the water-based cooling system involves taking seawater from the baltic and filtering it into its data center in Finland. Urs Hoelzle, a senior vice president at Google, told the news source it is the first time that he has heard of seawater being used to cool a data center. However, the procedure is fairly common in other industries. Hoelzle thinks there is significant room for improvement across the sector when it comes to efficiency.
In the case of PEER 1 Hosting, the water-based cooling system uses recycled water that is sprayed onto titanium plates. The plates are placed in the data center's ventilation system, and are used to cool air as it is sent to cold aisles, according to the report. This system is especially effective because the air sent through the system is exhaust from the servers.
The report said such efficiency measures are becoming key in the data center, citing research from Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University. Three years ago, Kooney detailed how much energy data centers use to power cooling systems, and he is working to update his findings.
Koomey told the news source that efficiency is becoming critical in the data center industry. He also said that large data centers that provide colocation services are often more efficient than small, on-premise facilities owned by individual businesses.
While Google and PEER 1 Hosting are among the industry leaders in water-based cooling system, Facebook is among the top companies in pioneering overall sustainability in the data center. According to a recent Data Center Knowledge report, the company is positioned to open a new data center in Rutherford County, North Carolina in the first quarter of 2012. The report said the facility is being built for optimal environmental efficiency and will likely have similar features to the company's Prineville, Oregon facility.