Six Steps to a Green Data Center

Six Steps to a Green Data Center

By following these six simple steps, IT executives can come closer to achieving their vision of a green data center.

STEP 4: Adopt chilled water as a cooling method: Water can move up to 3,500 times the amount of heat that the same volume of air can. However, the use of chilled water as a data center cooling method will take some time to adopt both physically and culturally, as many find it difficult to fathom pipes of running water snaking through the plenums of their data centers. Water cooling, as part of a rack, is possible through a number of options. In some cases, heat exchangers are located within a rack, and water is circulated in a closed loop within the rack and cooled by the traditional forced air from computer room air conditioning (CRAC). In other examples, the heat exchanger is located outside of the rack.

Another example of water cooling utilizes a completely external chiller system and cools the electronics within a rack through a closed loop chilled water system, with separate supply and return lines usually routed through the data center floor. These close-coupled systems can result in shorter air paths that require less fan power. Close-coupled heat removal minimizes and almost eliminates the mixing of cool and hot air since the airflow is completely contained in the row or rack.

STEP 5: Buy from a green vendor: It is essential to seek out a vendor that has power and cooling at the forefront of its research and development strategies. Selecting equipment based on lifecycle costs that take into account the energy usage of servers will become an important part of the procurement process for IT equipment in the near future.

STEP 6: Enable green controls: Enabling green control within servers is also helpful to ensure that they are throttling the amount of power they consume based on actual load. These controls can step down the frequency of the servers during low load, which will translate to less power consumption. Other areas that offer environmental as well as economic benefits today are information lifecycle management (ILM), data de-duplication and the use of archiving to reduce the amount of storage on the floor. Companies usually start these projects to save money, but from an environmental standpoint the fewer disks they have spinning, the less energy they will use.

Darryl Wilson is the Regional Practice Director for Dimension Data Canada, a specialist IT services provider that helps organizations plan, build, support and manage their IT infrastructures. For more information visit

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