Friday, 17 July 2009

Chillerless Facilities

In the news this week is another of Google's data centres. Their facility in Belgium does not use chillers and traditional air conditioning, but utilises fresh-air cooling to effectively cool the data centre for free. Fresh-air cooling is not a new technology and it is in use by many different facilities around the world, but the clever part is that Google have done away with the need for backup air conditioning units for the few days a year when temperatures rise above the safe operating levels of their computer equipment.

To allow this facility to run at optimum levels, the technology employed had to be redesigned from the ground up. Google already build their own servers which mean they can purpose build them to their specific requirements, using minimal components and reducing the need for expensive casings and multiple drives. These servers can be run at a temperature of 27 degrees centigrade which allows for cooling requirements to be minimal in the first place. The average summer temperatures in Brussels are between 19-21 degrees which allows a 6 degree variance for heat waves or unseasonal hot days. If the temperature in the data centre rises to a level where the IT equipment cannot handle the heat, Google, using its virtualisation technology, starts to transfer the servers activity to different facilities around the world which allows the data centre to cool naturally, restoring a lower temperature and allowing the facility to continue to operate at normal levels. This process is performed automatically by the data centre, which can recognise when it may be over heating. There is also an increasing reliance on local weather forecasting so they can pre-empt any problems that may occur.

As the world moves towards virtualisation as a more efficient method of server utilisation, the question remains, is the Google data centre blueprint the future of the modern computer room? Google have the ability and the financial backing to be able to take a problem, dissect it, and redesign it so it works most efficiently for their requirements. This is their plan for Google OS, but are Googles requirements the same of the rest of the worlds?

Making your Data Centre as efficient as possible will reduce your yearly power bill significantly. Some very small, often free changes can return 5-10% savings in power. Migration Solutions are specialist consultants who created their ERA, Environmental Report and Assessment, to help Data Centre and computer room operators save running costs and extend the life of servers and their support equipment. For more information visit or call 0845 251 2255

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