Frozen energy cost make an greener data center

A data center in Phoenix has found a way to “freeze” their data center costs – using ice balls. The Ice  Ball Thermal Storage System may be the coolest technology to hit the market…literally!

The ice balls are water filled, dimpled plastic spheres a little bigger than a softball. The balls float in four huge tanks filled with a glycol solution that chills the balls by night and pumps the cool air into the data center by day. This shifts the energy consumption from day to night allowing the utility generators to run more efficiently.

You might wonder why anyone would have a data center in on of the hottest places in the US. There are benefits to the hot, dry desert climate. For example, it lends itself to energy evaporative cooling technology when the temperatures at night dip down low.

That’s not all. This company has found a way to beat the Phoenix heat in other ingenious ways – reducing their energy use and taking advantage of the innovation new ways to be green. Read more…

Data center efficiency is more than hot air

Or is it? I just learned about an easy way to reduce cooling costs in the data center by using hot air.  The big problem with data centers is that they generate a lot of heat from all those racks of servers.  For every kilowatt used to run data center equipment, another kilowatt needs to be spent on air-conditioning to pull the heat out. Most datacenters are big rooms where cool air and hot air mix together.

So why not keep out the heat? The hot aisles can be blocked off with strip curtains, similar to ones used in meat packing plants. This allows  the hot air to be vented out of the building while the cool air can move through the data center – which means that instead of a 55 degree deep freeze, it’s could be a comfortable 74 degrees in the data center.  

One of our partners, NetApp, developed this setup which earned them an Energy Star rating.  You can read about it here:

First steps: Reducing your Data Center Energy Footprint

Cooling is responsible for the greatest energy waste. The problem is that most don’t know where all the hot spots are, and instead cool the entire data center to a certain level. The reality is that the hottest servers probably consume a minority of floor space, so you can focus cooling on those that need it most. Once you’ve isolated your most power-hungry servers, turn up the thermostat on the rest of them. Most servers can operate perfectly well at temperatures of as much as 100° (be sure to check with your supplier) and each 1° increase in temperature can save about 4percent in energy costs.Several vendors also now sell server racks that are optimized for cooling.

The Raised Floor
If you look under the raised flooring in your data center, you’ll probably find pockets of cables clustered together. [Read more…]