Go Green and Save Green: Building a Sustainable Data Center
bydevonhanklein10-15-201508:00 AM - edited 10-15-201509:28 AM
From your home office to the Amazons of the world, there is always a way to be more environmentally conscious. Being more sustainable means using less energy, effort, time, and thus spending less money. Keep reading for ways companies of any size could go green while saving green:
Google took the ultimate steps in going green by building a data center from a converted paper mill in Hamina, Finland. The building utilizes a pre-existing tunnel system that pumps raw seawater from the Gulf of Finland into heat exchangers to cool the routers and switches. The system then re-cools the warm water so it can be returned to the gulf closer to its original temperature and minimize any adverse environmental effects. The cooling method uses no compressor or refrigerant based cooling, only natural resources.
But what if you’re not near the sea? Earlier this year, Greenpeace applauded Apple’s commitment to clean-energy. Included in Apple’s efforts, are a new solar powered data center in Mesa, Arizona. The solar farm produces over 70 megawatts of energy, enough to power of 13,500 homes. The data center acts as a control center for their global networks, most of which are also sustainably run.
But what if you don’t have a solar farm? Videos of Amazon’s Kiva robots recently went viral, as people were fascinated by the way giant Roomba-like robots picked up and moved whole shelves of inventory. For Amazon, this saves time for packing and shipping. If applied to a data center of a company of scale, Kivas could pick up and move routers in a data center to the coolest part of a room. Brocade’s Jon Hudson theorizes that even a small difference in temperature could save larger amounts of money on cooling over time.
For those without fleets of robots or access to the sea, there is the Brocade ICX 6430 fanless switch. A highly reliable, and thus sustainable product. Since the switch has no moving parts, it has a lower power draw and a significantly longer MTBF (main time between failure). By not needing to replace the device, these is no waste, and resources are not wasted creating a replacement. Most devices fail because of changes in heat, cooling down when not in use, and reheating when active. Since the Brocade ICX 3460 is fanless, it stays at a relatively constant temperature and can save thousands of dollars on replacements.
Regardless of the size of your company, there are always steps that can be taken to be more sustainable and utilize existing infrastructures. This is beneficial to both the environment and your wallet! Even if you don’t have a solar farm, or sea side data center, consider taking steps to conserve energy while benefiting your business.