How to cool a datacenter?

One of the biggest expenses for a data center is the cost of cooling all the servers. Heat is your worst enemy. Companies who build or own large data centers are aggressively seeking innovations in ways to lower the costs of cooling. Electricity is the biggest line item when it comes to the cost of running a data center. In fact NPR suggests that the total energy consumption of the worlds data centers now exceeds 2% of the worlds electricity. That is more electricity than the country of Spain consumes! And a significant percentage of the electricity is used for cooling. It is no surprise that companies like Google which have a dependence on an ever growing footprint of massive data centers to cool are one of the leaders in seeking these innovations. They recently started using toilet water to cool their data center in Arizona, instead of fresh water. Makes sense. Servers don’t drink the water.

Another ‘cool’ trend (bad pun, sorry) has been to start building data centers in frigid locations. Locations with an ample supply of cold air all year round (what were they thinking when they built the data center in Arizona?). Facebook just built a massive data center in Sweden, located just South of the Arctic circle! I am sure Alaska, Canada and even frigid locales in India and China will soon jump on this bandwagon. For those working in the datacenter field, time to check out the North Face catalog…

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