Google's new data-center cools with weather prediction, not electricity

Google new Belgian data-center uses weather prediction to save energy, shifting work to cooler centers when the mercury rises, rather than using energy-sucking electric coolers.
Google has taken the strategy to the next level. Rather than using chillers part-time, the company has eliminated them entirely in its data center near Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, which began operating in late 2008 and also features an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than a municipal water utility.

The climate in Belgium will support free cooling almost year-round, according to Google engineers, with temperatures rising above the acceptable range for free cooling about seven days per year on average. The maximum temperature in Brussels during summer reaches 66 to 71 degrees, while Google maintains its data centers at temperatures above 80 degrees.

So what happens if the weather gets hot? On those days, Google says it will turn off equipment as needed in Belgium and shift computing load to other data centers. This approach is made possible by the scope of the company's global network of data centers, which provide the ability to shift an entire data center's workload to other facilities.

Google's Chiller-less Data Center (via /.)


  1. I’m imagining a sort of desert caravan of data in a reverse-geosynchronous orbit, circling the planet every day to stick to the night-side…

  2. I see where this is heading: modify the atmospheric temperature using the heat from datacenter to control the weather.

  3. #4: The sky above the datacenter looks like the last act of Ghostbusters, with a massive funnel of cloud spinning away the heat into space.

  4. Shifting your entire data operations for seven days out of the year sounds like spending a fortune to save a few cents. Go-go, Greenwash Gadget!

  5. The maximum temperature in Brussels during summer reaches 66 to 71 degrees


    Weather forecast for belgium today is 81 (27 celsius) and a couple of weeks ago we had 86 (30 celsius).

    I hope they did their research better than that or they will have a lot of days with the equipment turned off.

  6. Whatever happened to their offshore, wave powered, oceanwater-cooled data center idea? That would have made an awesome evil lair. Stupid Google and their “don’t be evil” crap.

  7. the picture is a bit disingenuous. it’s the inside of a tape silo and they be T10K tapes in there.

    they are just “showing off” that they have lots of money to spend on their backups….

  8. Sorry guys, in Belgium they use the metric system and other scales that make sense, so in summer, it’s more like 18-21 degrees, and Google may maintain its data centers operating at more than 26 degrees.

  9. Does that mean that Google searches in Belgium will be slower on hot days? … “I hate this weather! The internet’s so slow!”

  10. That picture is of StorageTek (now SUN) tape library. Those are all LTO tapes if I’m not mistaken.

  11. Another corporation slapping on a ‘sustainability sticker’. We’re still doomed of course.

  12. Damage@7: Installing a massive AC system for seven
    days out of the year sounds like spending a fortune
    to save a few cents, you mean.

  13. Why not build their data center in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia or wherever the weather is always cool all year round? Then they wouldn’t have to worry about several days a year to shut down machines and they could save even more money on cooling. Didn’t someone in Google corporate think of googling weather temperatures for various geographic regions?

  14. @#5 XENU- I too fear this. They are only aiding the beast, the one who will awaken and enslave the humans. (maybe it is awake, only cooling off to prepare for battle)

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