How Does a Green Data Center Achieve Efficiency?
Green data centers are more than just a buzzword. Since data centers now consume twice the amount of power it takes to power all the households in New York City, they’ve fallen under scrutiny by the government and environmental groups, causing those who want to maintain a positive public image to green up their act. How do these data centers achieve efficiency while lowering power consumption and other waste?
Green Data Centers Are Cranking Up the Heat
It’s long been believed that data center hardware needs to be maintained at 68-degrees so that the equipment lasts as long as possible. But modern hardware is much more heat tolerant. Furthermore, the cost of replacing equipment a bit early is actually much lower than the costs of keeping data centers at such a low temperature. Google runs their data centers at a constant balmy 80-degrees, and tests by Intel show that equipment holds its own and data centers can reduce operational expenses by 74 percent by allowing the data center to reside at 80-degrees. Bonus! Workers don’t have to wear parkas anymore.
Green Data Centers Are Using Alternative Cooling Sources
But holding the temperature to 80-degrees still requires some cooling, and this can easily be achieved through green methods. For example, Microsoft’s facilities in Ireland use outside air to cool their data center. All it takes is ventilating the center to the outside, so long as the external temperature is below 80-degrees.
Alternately, data centers can make use of geothermal cooling or by pumping the heat generated by machines into a nearby body of water, like a large lake or ocean. While the initial engineering and setup of these alternate cooling sources costs money, it tremendously lowers the amount of power consumed by the data centers over time, lessening their impact on the environment.
Green Data Centers Eliminate Redundancies
When going green, eliminating waste is essential. Companies concerned with their impact on the environment are consolidating data center operations, because it’s more efficient to operate a single center than multiple ones. This reduces the amount of equipment needed, as well as simplifying disaster management plans. Can your IT department justify the redundant hardware within the company? Getting rid of this cuts waste in a number of ways: fewer workers are needed to maintain the equipment, less power is consumed, fewer maintenance costs are incurred, and asset management becomes much easier.
Greener Data Center Practices
Data centers can also reduce waste by switching from HDD to SSD for managing data sets that are highly active and read only. SSDs are coming down significantly in price, and come with the advantages of consuming less power, producing less heat, and allowing faster access of information. The hitch is that SSDs have a limited lifespan in terms of read-write operations. By using SSDs for read-only, you can preserve the life of the drive while taking advantage of its efficient and green qualities.
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