Syracuse University enlists DC power, liquid cooling for Green Data Center

Funded in part by IBM and public dollars, GDC will produce all its power on-site

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If other new data center projects have embraced DC power, it's news to me. Notably, vendors of AC power systems have made their equipment more energy efficient, thereby reducing energy loss between conversions -- though eliminating conversion must be the greenest and most efficient approach of all. Perhaps the use of DC will gain more momentum as companies see the sustainability-oriented benefits of the technology.

Off the grid
The new Syracuse University facility boasts additional green features that are becoming increasingly common among data centers. For example, the school has its own on-site electrical trigeneration system that runs on natural gas and supplies the data center with all the power it needs. Hence, the data center can operate entirely off the grid, likely a significant cost saver and most certainly a means of reducing the school's overall carbon footprint.

Syracuse isn't alone in its strategy of generating power on-site. Intel recently announced plans to implement eight large-scale solar power installations at various sites. Google's main campus is home to an enormous solar power installation as well, while Fujitsu has a hydrogen fuel cell at its Sunnyvale, Calif., campus.

Keeping it cool
IBM and SU also came up with clever approaches to make cooling as efficient as possible in the GDC. For starters, they created a liquid cooling system that uses double-effect absorption to convert the exhaust heat from the aforementioned power generator into chilled water to cool not only servers, but also an adjacent building. Server racks incorporate "cooling doors" that use chilled water to remove heat from each rack more efficiently than conventional room-cooling methods.

The data center also employs sensors to monitor server usage and temperatures to tailor the amount of cooling delivered to each System z10, thus improving efficiency.

A bulk of the funding for the GDC came from IBM, which provided more than $5 million in equipment, design services, and support. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contributed $2 million to the project, while the New York State Senate is handing over another $500,000.

New York State Senator David Valesky justified the use of public funding in the project, calling it a "smart investment." He said, "By partnering with public and private organizations, Syracuse University will set a great example and provide much-needed resources for companies and organizations who are looking to reduce both IT costs and their carbon footprint."

This story, "Syracuse University enlists DC power, liquid cooling for Green Data Center," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in green IT at InfoWorld.com.

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