For anyone familiar with enterprise technology (or anyone who's watched a thriller movie featuring technology), the datacenter has a pretty standard look and feel. A well-lit, all-white room has racks of computers and networking equipment, all cooled to a crisp 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and 40-50% percent humidity. All that cooling sucks up a significant amount of power (up to 50% of the total power consumption), and costs associated with running a data center lead companies to choose judiciously where they locate.
Ars Technica reports that several datacenters are now exploring cooling methods that use architecture and the environment to dramatically reduce the costs associated with cooling a datacenter. Some steps being taken include:
- locating datacenters in naturally cool environments, such as Northern England or New York state
- drawing in outside cool air to reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental cooling
- designing buildings that employ local prevailing winds to reduce the need for direct air intake, as well as using passive cooling through thick walls and tree shading.
Organizations are now providing information packages that help datacenters understand how to make use of green technologies and thereby reducing power consumption.
I continue to be fascinated by the innovation that exists in the technology sector, not only to produce the newest and shiniest gadgets, but to dramatically change how we live for the better.