The data center's warmer climate still surprises and even concerns some clients, Levy said. To alleviate concerns that their machines aren't going to overheat, Hurricane has small signs hung up beside doors to the data center, explaining that the temperature and humidity are in line with ASHRAE's guidelines and that the approach saves energy. (The sign plays up the green angle but doesn't allude to the cost savings, which presumably benefit customers' pocketbooks.)
In discussing cooling, Martin Levy, director of IPv6 strategy at Hurricane, mourned the passing of SprayCool, a company that developed an innovative liquid cooling technology. SprayCool devised a non-corrosive, non-conductive liquid that, when sprayed on, say, a hot CPU, would evaporate and instantly cool the processor, thus theoretically eliminating the need for power-hungry fans.
Levy suggested the company made some business mistakes -- such as basing itself in Spokane, Wash., instead of Silicon Valley -- and that its efforts also were thwarted by Intel rolling out more energy-efficient chips and by data center operators' reluctance to permit liquid near their machines. But that sort of liquid cooling is "the wave of the future," Levy predicts. "[It] will come back with a vengeance."
Stuck with AC power
For power delivery, after much deliberation and research, Hurricane Electric went with Eaton's 9395 UPS system, which operates at 99 percent efficiency in Energy Saver Mode. That is, the UPS has built-in intelligence to adjust to power demands and deliver load as efficiently as possible. Only when power is lost or when load is out of a pre-specified voltage or frequency limit does its rectifier and inverter kick in.
I asked Levy why Hurricane went with a traditional AC-based power delivery system instead of a DC-based system, which arguably is more energy efficient because it requires fewer conversions as power travels from the wall to the rack. His reply: "It's hard to use [DC] when you have customers bringing in their own equipment. If I were a Facebook or a Google, going the homogeneous route, I'd use it in a heartbeat. It's a great win."
[ Syracuse University's a href="http://www.infoworld.com/d/green-it/syracuse-university-enlists-dc-power-liquid-cooling-green-data-center-749?source=fssr">newly opened Green Data Center runs on DC.]