HOWTO Green your data-center

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11 Responses to “HOWTO Green your data-center”

  1. Ambrose says:

    What’s the definition of a “white paper”?

    Jer’s link takes me to a page on Forbes which invites me to watch a webcast. There’s no text, as far as I can see, and in order to watch the webcast I have to go through two pages with huge complex intrusive forms — I have to provide them with my phone number? — before I can access it.

    But I did that for the sake of being sure.

    Yes, the webcast, (low-res, badly recorded audio and ugly pixelated slides) after a few minutes, does indeed say that “data centers consume 1.5 per cent of the total electricity on the planet”. Which by now, I hope we all realise is not true.

  2. Jamie says:

    I’ve been working facilities in a data center for about six months now; the cooling capacity is absolutely our limiting factor, since our buildings are rated for 125 watts per square foot. It’s not uncommon for a blade server rack to handily exceed that number, requiring the customer to get a larger cage to offset the massive amounts of heat being generated by a handful of blade racks.

  3. Ambrose says:

    Nobody even blinked at the insane assertion that data centres alone account for 1.5% of the entire world’s energy?

    Nonsense. The EPA report estimates that ‘servers and data centers’ may account for 1.5% of US energy. US. Not World. And what does ‘servers’ mean in that context?

    To reduce that to ‘data centers take up 1.5% of world energy’ is ridiculous.

  4. Ambrose says:

    I’m pleased it got corrected. Now, of course, it looks like Alex and Jez didn’t ever make that claim. I’d have been happier if their claim was left there with a polite comment pointing out that it was incorrect.

  5. icky2000 says:

    Cooling is certainly a big issue but my experience in the last couple years with colocation facilities has been more about power than cooling. Most data centers were built 10+ years ago and were based on the “sell per square foot” model but now that energy costs are so high and servers so dense, I can get as many servers in 1 rack that used to take 5 and want that much power in that 1 rack. Few data centers have that kind of power infrastructure. Obviously the energy to provide the cooling is part of the load but power is usually the issue. Thus, we too end up with giant cages with just a few racks and a lot of free space.

    The upside to this for those of us who spend time in data centers is that now instead of working in tiny little poorly lit and freezing corridors between racks, we have large open spaces which we furnish with big storage cabinets and tables for building servers and such. It has made a nerd’s life somewhat more enjoyable.

  6. Nelson.C says:

    Sounds like these places need Sun’s Black Box, basically 250 servers and their cooling systems housed in a 20′ shipping container. Of course, they might then find the limiting factor to be available water.

  7. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Not insane, Ambrose. Possibly mistaken. If so, you have a good point.

  8. rdkeir says:

    Rah for fact-checking!

    See also http://enduse.lbl.gov/Projects/InfoTech.html for some other cites in the attempt to measure energy usage.

    In particular, see the stuff about Mark Miller’s report “the Internet totaled about 8 percent of all U.S. electricity use in 1998 and that it would grow to half of all electricity use in the next decade”, a totally bogus statement that we will be living with for the rest of our lives, along with “ketchup is a vegetable” and “Saddam Hussein has WMDs”.

  9. Jer says:

    I was linking to the paper, not a podcast. Here is a different link to the same paper reposted on Security News Portal:

    http://www.securitynewsportal.com/securitynews/article.php?title=Green_Computing_Beyond_The_Datacenter

    It requires registration to download, but it’s free and you can put in bogus information if you want.

  10. Ambrose says:

    This is agonising. Another huge, illogical, intrusive form … and the White Paper isn’t available to users outside the US or Canada.

    Having lied and filled out the form about seven times (you can’t get it if you don’t have a fax number) I finally downloaded it and yes, it does contain that error: “1.5% of the planet’s energy”.

    I’d write to the people who produced it but the website is so horrible, and it’s so hard to figure out who to write to, that I just give up.

  11. Jer says:

    If you read the article, I cited the source for the 1.5% number. Here it is for those who didn’t: a white paper by Tech Target, called “Green Computing Beyond the Data Center” ( http://itresearch.forbes.com/detail/RES/1187036300_369.html ). The paper has been cited and re-posted by Forbes, BusinessWeek, and many other publications. Sorry if the number is wrong; the EPA’s paper is a more credible source.

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