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Natalie Lerner

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How Green Data Centers Achieve Efficiency

Why Going Green is a Good Move for Datacenters

How Green Data Centers Achieve Efficiency

Data centers have matured immensely over the past decade with today's data centers being greener than ever. Pike Research mentions that the green data center market was worth $17.1 billion in 2012. The green data center economy is expected to grow rapidly throughout this decade. Pike Research estimates that the total market value for green data centers will increase to $45 billion by 2016.

Green data centers are crucial for the advancement of computing technology. Data centers are being built all over the world to house large public computing infrastructures such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or Amazon AWS. Each of these organizations has their own methodologies in place on how to create a greener data center, but some have faced criticism that they aren't doing quite enough. Regardless of who constructs the data center, the keys to building data center revolve around the following two key ideas:

Using Free Cooling to Achieve Energy Efficiency

Google mentions that they employ a free cooling technique in their data centers. This isn't specific to Google; the idea of using free cooling techniques is an industry standard. The process of free cooling refers to methods that remove heat from the data center without the use of an air conditioner or a chiller. Companies that build out green data centers must first take advantage of the free methods available to cool their equipment. Availability of wind, water and thermal reservoirs add specific advantages to those looking to build out green data centers. Experts agree that the ability to cool your data center is where the most opportunity for saving energy exists.

Managing Variables inside the Facility

Today's data centers are built using the most efficient methodologies in mind. One of the biggest misconceptions about data centers is that they must be kept chilly. Believe it or not, green data centers set their thermostat high in order to save energy. The average temperature inside of a Google data center is 80 degrees. Google humorously notes that they ask their data center employees to wear shorts to work because of how warm it is inside of their data centers.

Today's data centers can safely operate in the 80 degree range without risking equipment failures. The warm nature of green data centers presents the potential for hot spots to begin popping up inside the data center. Thermal modeling is used to detect hot spots and airflow is directed towards these hot spots in order to mitigate the risks of overheating. Airflow architecture is essential in keeping specific systems cooled at their appropriate temperatures.

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Natalie Lerner is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.