Perhaps taking its cue from Google's chillerless data center in Belgium, technology giant Microsoft's (www.microsoft.com) new mega data center in Dublin relies almost entirely on free cooling.
First announced in June, Microsoft's Generation 3 mega data center officially opened in July. The data center is designed to support the company's "software-plus-services" strategy, namely its Online, Live and Cloud services.
Unlike many modern data centers which use chillers to cool server rooms, Microsoft's new Dublin facility uses free cooling 95 percent of the time. In other words, the data center uses nothing more than the outside air to prevent its servers from overheating.
This alternative to cooler server rooms with chillers helps save a large amount of power and water, making it a more ecologically-friendly data center.
According to the blog post from from Arne Josefsberg, Microsoft's general manager of infrastructure services and global foundation services, the data center has "air-handling units on the roof" that "draw outside air down into the facility to cool the server rooms, and then return hot air back out to the roof."
Since the data center does not use chillers, it uses less than 1 percent of the water that typical data centers use each year, reducing its Power Usage Effectiveness rating by half.
One of the reasons why Microsoft has adopted chillerless-data centers is because its server rooms can operate at temperatures as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit to save power costs associated with cooling. Most data centers maintain a server room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Microsoft's data center also has a backup cooling system in case the temperature of one of its rooms rised above 95 degrees.
Google's Belgium data center does not have mechanical cooling backup. Instead, the facility transfers all tasks to one of the 36 other custom-built Google data centers when the outside temperature get too high.
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