Boneheaded (but green!) data center moves.

It’s amazing to me that, with all the push going on to green the data center, it seems like more and more data centers are marring what should be a beautiful green facility with an ugly wart of something that’s a long ways from green.

Take cooling for example. I’ve commented previously on the CLUMEQ data center silo (a nearly brilliant re-use of an incredibly awkward building) and the recent story about Equinix building new data centers with raised flooring. The problem these designs share is that they expend extra energy to move the cooling air opposite the direction that the waste heat in the air, via convection, wants to move it. CLUMEQ’s wart results from an inexplicable choice to put the cooling equipment in the basement of the building, rather than the usual roof mounting. Equinix’s wart comes from using 20 year old “state of the art” data center engineering, otherwise known as raised floor.

I’ve just been reading about a DC powered data center container proof of concept setup. This setup runs 400VDC directly from the rectifier plant to the servers. This sounds fine except when you consider how to add backup power.

One of the strengths of standard 48VDC power is that it’s easy to float a reasonable size string of backup batteries directly across the DC, providing simplicity and switching free backup. Some high voltage DC power plants for data centers accomplish this by starting off with a 48VDC power plant and then converting the voltage up. How in the world do you do this on a 400VDC end to end power plant?

I commented today about the “100% solar powered” data center. This doesn’t sound unreasonable until you find out that A) they invert the DC from the solar panels to AC only to convert it back to DC at the server power supplies and B) that they use classic UPS systems, apparently double conversion. For the math challenged, thats 4 AC-DC conversions, 1 worse than the classic old data center design that’s generally been kicked to the curb for being hopelessly inefficient.

I don’t know what it is that causes these people to trip over their own shoelaces and face plant in the last steps before the green data center finish line. It’s almost as if there’s a rule that you can’t have too green a data center without something to even it out.

Whatever it is, it’s time to cut it out and make it across the finish line with a totally green data center.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center services today.


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