Google is an expert on data centers. Why? They own and operate so many of their own – for search, yes, but even more for cloud services – that they’ve learned about, examined, and improved their data centers in every reasonable way. Beyond simply improving their own data centers, however, Google is a loud voice in establishing better practices in all data centers – 70 percent of which, according to Google, are operating inefficiently.
Beyond operating their own data centers at half the total energy consumption as typical data centers, Google has helped bring together the bright minds in the industry. The second Data Center Efficiency Conference took place in Zurich (the first having taken place in the U.S. two years ago). Google used the opportunity to show some of their own innovations while spreading word and inciting discussion about best practices for efficiency.
Here’s the brief rundown of how to make your data center more efficient:
- Measure “PUE”
PUE, or “Power Usage Effectiveness,” indicates how much energy your data center is using compared to the building’s overall energy use. It’s the primary statistic for examining and understanding your power efficiency and establishing data points for trends in different seasons.
- Manage Air Flow
Appropriate internal architecture can improve the airflow dramatically, reducing your cooling costs with minimal effort and change. New technologies, such as thermal modeling, make this even easier.
- Raise Your Allowed Temperatures
Most equipment will run smoothly at 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) or higher. Check with your manufacturer and raise your allowing temperature appropriately.
- Utilize Free Cooling
Look for ways to use your environment, the “ambient air temperature,” and thermal reservoirs to cool your data center without using your chiller.
- Fine-Tune Your Power Distribution
Eliminate power conversion steps and use efficient transformers and power distribution units to ensure the most effective but least costly system.
For Google, the reasons to go green in data centers are as easy to ignore as a punch in the jaw. Going green saves you money and saves the planet. As Joseph Kava, Senior Director of Operations at Google, put it, “This is something we have to stop talking about and we have to just start doing it.”