Greening the data center : Is bigger better?

Tonight I’ve been reading about big vs small data centers. So, in terms of green, how big is too big?

So, is bigger or smaller better from a green standpoint? There are pros and cons to both. The bigger the facility, the more economic advantage from large buying, as well as standardization. On the down side, large open spaces make it much more difficult to control airflow, which is a key to greening the data center.

Large facility roofs provide great locations for green solar power but also absorb large amounts of heat from the sun. Also, the larger the facility, the more strain placed on local utilities, such as power and water for cooling.

On the other hand, small facilities can also be difficult to ventilate properly for cooling. On the plus side, small facilities can be tweaked easily to optimize them for the specific environmental conditions. Also, there’s the disaster avoidance benefit of not packing everything into a single enormous facility, avoiding single points of failure.

So where does this leave us? I think the gargantuan facilities will be few and that modestly sized facilities will be the easiest to green, right sized for optimal cooling, not so large as to stress local utilities.

Like a lot of other things, extremes either way tend to be less than optimal.

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

data center, web hosting, Internet engineering


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