Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Capgemini and Yahoo! announce the world’s greenest data centres (or not)

News of a couple of very green data centres:
Capgemini logo Capgemini has launched a new data centre in Swindon, UK, which it claims will be one of the world’s greenest. According to eweek, the new facility, known as Merlin, comprises 30,000m² of technical floor space and relies on a combination of fresh air and evaporative cooling to reduce cooling energy use by over 92%, compared with a conventional data centres using chilled water.  The data centre will be certified Tier 3 by the Uptime Institute.

Appropriately, the data centre will host the UK's Environment Agency as its first tenant. The Environment Agency will take two of the 12 2,500 square metre modules.

According to Computing, Capgemini claims the best power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of any data centre globally, with a PUE of 1.08, against an industry standard of a little more than 2.5 PUE. However, that was just a few days before:

Yahoo Yahoo! has unveiled what it claims is one of the world's most energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective data centre buildings in Lockport, Niagara County, New York. The facility uses a combination of design and the naturally cool climate to decrease its electricity use.

The data centre uses Yahoo!'s green data centre design, called the Yahoo! Computing Coop (YCC), also known as the ‘Yahoo! Chicken Coop’. It uses a combination of the cool climate, prevailing winds and hydropower to keep the 120x60-foot server buildings cool. The design mimics the long, narrow design of a chicken coop to encourage natural air flow, resulting in an annualised average of less than 1% of the buildings' total energy consumption being required to cool the facility. In addition, hydropower for the data centre will be supplied by the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

The company claims the Lockport data centre is among the most efficient in the world, with a PUE of 1.08, compared with the industry average of 1.92.

Congratulations to both companies for the level of efficiency they have managed to achieve through careful design of these two state-of-the-art facilities.
It’s not really important, but did either of them set a world first in PUE with 1.08? The Capgemini data centre was due to go into operation in the second half of September, while Yahoo! unveiled its own facility on September 20th, but only claiming it to be ‘among the most efficient data centres in the world’. A close call.

What also intrigues me is that Yahoo! quotes an EPA figure of industry average PUE of 1.92, whilst Capgemini cites 2.5. That’s a big difference – Capgemini’s figure indicates 30% more data centre energy use to run the same IT infrastructure (according to my estimation). Not sure where that comes from. I find it hard to believe that’s a US/Europe difference, but it’s very disappointing if it is.

© The Green IT Review

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