Creating a Greener Data Center

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Creating a Greener Data Center

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A new article posted today on Microsoft’s efforts to create more efficient and “greener” data centers. you can read the full article at 

Some of Microsoft’s newest data centers, such as this one in Quincy, Washington, are more than 10 times the size of a football field.It wasn’t long ago that corporations gave little thought to the energy consumed by data centers – those warehouses of humming computer servers that today drive retail commerce, manage payrolls, forward e-mails and much more.

Tighter budgets and rising energy costs make those days seem positively Jurassic. Some data centers dwarf a football field and can cost more to build and power than the IT services they support. Today data centers consume about 2 percent of U.S. power generation. Now, everyone from the CFO to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is interested in a data center’s footprint—economic and environmental.

Several trends drive data center power consumption. As computers become cheaper and more capable, more people own computers – and use them more for data center-driven tasks. The IT industry’s shift to cloud computing also drives consumption, as data centers will play an increasingly vital role in powering our digital lives.

Fortunately, the future doesn’t mean a choice between environment and economy, said Christian Belady, principal power and cooling architect with Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services (GFS) group. “Cost and sustainability are one and the same,” he says. “We’re extremely fortunate to be in an industry where lowering cost and being green are synonymous.”

The GFS team is helping Microsoft and the industry find the intersection of cost and sustainability. Until now, businesses and companies have largely focused on optimizing the cost of their IT equipment. Now, data center operators and architects are examining every phase of their power use. Microsoft is doing the same, squeezing efficiency from hardware and employing software that optimizes server performance.    

Today, Microsoft’s power consumption is between 30 and 50 percent lower than the global industry average for traditional data centers. “We believe that it is important to track and monitor the power usage effectiveness (PUE) across all of our data centers, no matter how small or how old, in order to truly understand how well our data centers are managed and to allow us to make the right business decisions,” says Arne Josefsberg, general manager of Infrastructure Services for GFS. “When you’re managing an infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of servers, it is essential that you run it efficiently.”

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