Microsoft sets two-year target for better datacentres

Microsoft sets two-year target for better datacentres

Summary: Microsoft wants to spend less on cooling and more on processing in its datacentres over the next two years by increasing the efficiency with which the facilities consume power.On Tuesday, at a Samsung CIO Green Forum in Munich, Rick Bakken, Microsoft's senior director of datacentre evangelism within its Global Foundation Services department, said the company is attempting to slash the average power usage effectiveness (PUE) of all Microsoft datacentres from 2.

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TOPICS: Storage
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Microsoft wants to spend less on cooling and more on processing in its datacentres over the next two years by increasing the efficiency with which the facilities consume power.

On Tuesday, at a Samsung CIO Green Forum in Munich, Rick Bakken, Microsoft's senior director of datacentre evangelism within its Global Foundation Services department, said the company is attempting to slash the average power usage effectiveness (PUE) of all Microsoft datacentres from 2.00 to 1.25 over the next 24 months.

PUE measures the power used for non-IT purposes in a datacentre, so a PUE of 1.10 says that for every watt used by IT hardware, 0.10 watts are used in cooling, lighting and other supporting infrastructure. Microsoft's goal equates to a 75 percent boost in the efficiency of its facilities.

"We like airside economisation, we like adiabatic cooling," he told ZDNet UK. "Ultimately we've got a goal to get our PUE down to 1.25 across all of our datacentres in the next 24 months."

By comparison, Google operates a fleet of datacentres with PUEs of between 1.10 and 1.21, and Facebook, which recently disclosed a high level of information about its datacentre, is running one at 1.07.

Microsoft operates "between 10 and 100" datacentres across the world, Bakken said, and buys between three and five percent of the world's supply of x86 servers every quarter.

"If we [Microsoft] were an ISP, we'd be running the fifth-largest network in the world," he said.

The company's datacentres run the gamut of sophistication, from leased facilities, to high-density warehouses, to containerised ones and smaller, more modular experimental designs. This year, the company is building out three facilities based on its ITPAC (IT Pre-Assembled Components) architecture, Bakken said.

Fundamentally, the drive for more efficient datacentres is due to Microsoft's overall decision to go further into the cloud with Windows Azure, Office 365, Windows InTune and other products, Bakken said, so reducing the power they use is beneficial to Microsoft's business model.

"Cloud computing is going to make the last four years look like a speed bump, we've got that much activity," he said.

Topic: Storage

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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  • This is good news as Data Centers will increase their power requirements exponentially. I am preparing a paper that suggests to develop data centers that are completely cooled and powered off the grid using HydroThermal Energy. Perhaps this should factor into Microsoft and others plans before the end of the decade.
    Here is an excerpt from the abstract:
    The prospect of Hydrothermal Net-Zero Energy Data Centers
    .....Since most utility power is generated by burning coal or fossil fuel, innovation is essential to meet the challenge of providing sustainable cooling and power for Data Centers. Google has responded to the need for sustainable cooling with the Data Center project in Hamina, Finland where, instead of using chillers, the facility will be cooled by cold seawater brought in by large pipes from the Baltic Sea. While this solution of natural water cooling sets a precedent for sustainable cooling, the need for sustainably generating the energy required to power the facility and it’s equipment has yet to be resolved. This paper proposes hydrothermal energy for Data Centers whereby cooling and power are both sustainably generated.
    Due to the maximum density of 39oF (4oC) water, colder water naturally exists beneath this layer. Many coastal regions have both deep cold water and warm surface water resources available. HVAC professionals understand that air conditioning, in its simplest form, uses a working fluid and electricity powering a compressor, to create a temperature difference. The reverse of this process, however, is familiar to Ocean Energy professionals, where a minimum temperature difference of 36oF (20oC) in water, may be used with a working fluid and an ORC turbine, to create electricity. This process therefore enables any facility with access to cold and warm water to dual purpose the water that is transported to shore for both cooling and power generation.
    Tedjag