3. Enter the thermal zone. Experts such as Digital Realty's Vice President of Engineering Jim Smith recommend setting up hot and cool aisles in the datacenter. In this kind of layout, each aisle between rows of server racks is bounded with either just hot-air outlets or cool-air intakes. The goal is to isolate and extract heat before it mixes with cold air.
Use strip curtains to enhance the separation by blocking open space above the racks. (Smith had other insights to share with me in an interview, which you can watch http://www.infoworld.com/archives/videoTemplate.jsp?Id=1352 ">right here.)
4. Pull some plugs. Hopefully you have a way of knowing which machines in your datacenter are actually being utilized. If not, performing an inventory is always a good idea. Once you've done that and determine which ones are running at 0 percent utilization, unplug them, suggests Douglas: "If there is a problem [and] someone complains about the system being unavailable, turn it back on." You will see immediate power and cooling savings.
5. Harness the elements. Air- and water-side economizers, or a combination thereof, can help deliver efficient, inexpensive cooling in the right environments, according to Amory Lovins, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). He told SearchDataCenter.com, "An air-side economizer is very cheap in capital cost and uses essentially no energy, just a tiny bit for controls. Water-side economizer, evaporative cooling with a cooling tower, and heat exchanges in your chilled water loop, [costs] $100 per ton. If you design it very well, it gives you 100 or even 125 units of coefficient performance."
These tips are, of course, just starting-off points, but they're well worth trying. Not only might they help you achieve some of the cost-saving benefits of a greener datacenter, but, hey, all the cool IT pros are doing it.