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The Key to Major Data Center Savings? Concrete Floors

concrete2By simply using concrete floors and an overhead cooling system, it has been found that a company can gain IT data center energy efficiency.

Because such a system relies on gravity to pull the cool air downward to the already cool concrete floor, it can result in 75 percent energy savings in the cooling fans alone, according to Fortune Data Center, which just built a commercial wholesale data center along these lines in San Jose, Calif.

Fortune Data Center’s new facility delivers a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.37 at full load, as compared to the industry average data center PUE of 2.0, and exceeding the EPA’s target PUE of 1.45 for enterprise-class data centers by 2011, according to a press release.

PUE, a standard developed by The Green GridTM consortium, is determined by dividing the total facility power by the IT equipment power.

Traditional data centers use a raised floor to deliver cold air to servers, requiring considerable fan energy to push the cold air high enough to reach servers mounted atop a standard rack or cabinet.

Fortune’s method uses cold air supplied by an overhead plenum and insulated ducts for hot air return. Additionally, mounting hardware cabinets directly to the floor reduces installation cost, increases seismic stability and removes weight constraints.

In all, Fortune estimates that a large client who eliminates its own IT data center and instead uses Fortune’s wholesale service would save up to $4 million a year and contribute to the elimination of 27,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Doing so would remove 40 million kilowatt-hours from the grid annually, according to Fortune.

The new data center has applied for LEED Gold status.

Other firms have made advances in data center efficiency as well.

Simply consolidating storage and server equipment  can help companies cut energy expenditures by as much as 50 percent, according to IBM.

Sun Microsystems is using its Broomfield, Colo., data center as a model when offering services to other companies.

Cisco Systems unveiled its Data Center 3.0 program in March. The program includes virtualization, a highly sought-after sustainable IT function.

Cisco’s “unified computing” model is to create data centers with complex storage and processing setups that can be separated from the hardware and be rearranged remotely. The idea is that the elements remain seamlessly networked no matter how they’re reorganized

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