The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly of Data Centers

There are more than three million data centers worldwide. In the recent past, the press has focused on data centers polluting the environment, and wasting energy. An one-year investigation led by the New York Times revealed that many data centers are designed to use enormous amount of electricity.  Most data centers are kept at full capacity throughout. Reports also show that data centers across the globe consume thirty billion watts of power, which is comparable to that outputted from thirty nuclear power plants. US data centers accounts for 25-34% of this load. Peter Gross, who has designed many data centers mentioned, “A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.”

Data Center CoolingBy their very nature, data centers have to ensure constant availability. But things are changing. Today, we see the very same data centers focus on power efficiency, alternative energy and green technologies.

IT giants like Facebook and Googleare using extensive reengineered cooling technologies and software to diminish the power wastage. eBay’s 245,000 square foot data center in Delta is 50% more economical to run and 30% more capable than its older facilities. The data warehouse is LEED Gold certified and uses 4 lakh-gallon water cooling cistern for collecting rainwater that keeps the building cool for long, pulling no extra power.

Apple, near its California headquarters, is building a research and development unit resembling a spaceship. This complex is going to be amidst greenery, with layers of trees and will draw power from its own energy center. Another example is Microsoft’s giant data center at Quincy using power of 40MWs and having PUE between 1.2-1.5.

The future of data centers will certainly focus on “greener” ways to doing business. Controlling the amount of energy used will always be a primary concern.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.