Data centres get greener

Summary:Went to visit a new data centre last week. Built by Star, the 10,000 square foot facility has not much in it yet, but it's been built with the notion of high density blades crammed into every rack - up to 7KW per rack.

Went to visit a new data centre last week. Built by Star, the 10,000 square foot facility has not much in it yet, but it's been built with the notion of high density blades crammed into every rack - up to 7KW per rack.

What's interesting is the way that the cooling system has been designed with the idea of lowering costs: there's an ambient air cooler that kicks in when outside temperatures dip below 10 degrees C, a big diesel generator, but also a flywheel - much greener than high-maintenance batteries full of noxious stuff - that bridges between a power outage and the generator kicking in.

There's a number of other innovative tweaks too, all with the idea that lowering energy costs is a good thing - and allows users of the 3MW data centre to claim with some justification that their computing systems are in some way green - or at least, greener than before.

It's been designed using computational fluid dynamics for modelling airflows, which Star's head of hosting James Griffin reckons has made a huge difference to both the costs and the system's efficiency. The key here is that the CFD model matched the reality once the systems were installed.

Data centres are becoming greener - the economics say they have to. This is one step in that direction, and there's more to come.

Topics: Networking

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Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger. As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites. I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceo... Full Bio

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