Facebook, eBay share data center energy efficiency tips

Oct. 20, 2010
Reporting from the recent Data Center Energy Summit.

According to recent reporting at IT World, at the recent Data Center Energy Summit, Facebook revealed that it was able to reduce its costs by $230,000 per year at its 56,000-square-foot data center in Santa Clara, California -- mainly via better air flow management.

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Facebook 's initial thermal design had warm air mixing with cold air above and around server aisles, so a cold aisle containment project was instituted -- closing the tops and ends of server aisles with fire retardant plastic, the better to prevent cold air blowing up through perforated floor tiles from escaping.

The cold aisle containment made the cooling systems more efficient, which allowed Facebook to shut down 15 of its Computer Room Air Handlers (CRAHs), reducing its energy draw by 114kW. The solution also enabled the facility to raise the air temperature at the CRAH inlets from 72 degrees to 81 degrees F.

Also at the Summit, eBay described similar efforts at its 80,000 square foot facility in Phoenix. The company said it applied blanking panels wherever it could, which plug the gaps in server racks to prevent cold air escaping, and made sure it had the right perforated floor tiles throughout the facility. The project reduced total power consumption at eBay's data center by 16 percent and carbon emissions by about the same amount, according to the report.

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