Historically data centers (DCs) have been the ultimate consumers. One 100,000 square foot data center has been known to use as much power as 50,000 homes. This excessive power consumption, while necessary, has also been the bane of data center operators and one of the major road blocks to the 21st century growth of the industry. As the price of power goes up and the world struggles to be energy conscious, how can we justify this level of consumption?
The answers may now be here. While the idea of a completely green data center may not be a reality in the United States today (I say the United States because Iceland has actually achieved this), many of the technological advances of the last several years are bringing our data centers much closer to being truly “green” and are ushering in the next revolution of data center technology.
One key example of this is leveraging the outside air to help cool the data center. Even in a temperate climate like the Mid-Atlantic, this very simple but efficient technology allows DCs to operate on considerably less power. Traditional air conditioning units for data centers use very high amounts of Kilowatts to power themselves and to cool the conditioned space. The new breed of air handler – notice the change in terminology – uses less than one Kilowatt. To put it in perspective a data center capable of supporting hundreds – if not thousands – of organizations can be cooled using less power than the unit at your house requires. This significant reduction is a major factor in the ability of data centers to grow larger and deliver more power with lower impact to the bottom line.
Another major shift in data center cooling operations is the use of water to cool the air as opposed to traditional power. By leveraging water’s cooling properties to remove hot air and to then cool this air accordingly, DCs have managed to reduce power consumption even further. Combine that with the fact that many of these spaces are drastically reducing their water consumption as well by using reclaimed gray water, traditionally used for irrigation, and you can see how “green” is going from feel-good buzzword to reality.
These are just a few examples of ways in which DCs are revolutionizing the way in which they use energy and make this particular industry incredibly exciting as we now witness the next huge wave of innovation with green technology. It is these changes that have me excited about the DC world not only for what it means for the growth of technology but also what it means for us as humans and how we can truly have our ever increasing server requirements and clean energy, too.
This guest article was written by Ryan Barbera, president of Unleashed Technologies. Ryan has over 12 years of sales and management experience. Moving into the advanced technology arena in 1999, Ryan has developed strong relationships and leadership in the areas of data center, hosting, cloud computing and development throughout his career. Throughout his experiences in these markets, Ryan has continued to grow his reputation as an innovator and expert in advanced technologies and is a thought leader on these subjects.