1. Green Data Center News

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    1. A long-winded answer to powering data centers by carol wilson

      A long-winded answer to powering data centers by carol wilson
      T. Boone Pickens goes on television to tout wind power. Warren Buffet says his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm will continue to invest heavily in wind energy, especially in states like Iowa, where 11% of the nation’s wind energy is generated. When big money men talk, people tend to listen. But they are not the only ones talking up wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has said the U.S. could get 20% of its electricity from wind energy by the year 2030.
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    2. Can you upgrade to green by upgrading your AC? - by doug mohney

      Can you upgrade to green by upgrading your AC? - by doug mohney
      Reducing power consumption in an existing data center might be as easy as – if such a thing is ever easy -- upgrading the air conditioners. Core4 Systems, a Napa start-up, says it can cut cooling costs up to 72 percent with its technology - a number vouched for by Core4's first customer, Sonic.Net. Core4's solutions also cut water usage by up to 28 percent over legacy systems. Unlike a traditional approach, Core4 provides an end-to-end solution starting with a site review of existing power and cooling needs to develop justification for energy rebates and ROI parameters. Key system components are custom designed and manufactured for each data center environment – definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach to cooling. Finally, Core4 manages the entire cooling system deployment process to optimize data center uptime.
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      Mentions: Doug Mohney
    3. Iceland debates its energy future by Doug Mohney

      Iceland debates its energy future by Doug Mohney
      For a country with lots of cold and snow, Iceland has plenty of geothermal and hydro power.  How it uses those resources is the subject of debate between politicians and environmentalists recently outlined in a New York Times piece. About 80 percent of Iceland's electricity goes to heavy industry and mainly to the country's three big aluminum plants, says Iceland environment minister Svandis Svavarsdottir. The country embarked upon building up aluminum processing to diversify Iceland's economy away from fishing, but environmentalists are concerned that work has started to add one new plant in the southwest, with Alcoa planning to add a new smelter in north Iceland in the future.
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    4. Emergency Power Strategies by Tate Cantrell

      Emergency Power Strategies by Tate Cantrell
       One of the most crucial, yet unappreciated topics in the data center world is emergency planning and disaster recovery. When natural disasters or other events occur creating wide-spread power outages, a data center can be put in great jeopardy when power is lost and there isn’t an alternative in place. The issue is more intense in places like the UK and US, where older power stations are being decommissioned and new electricity output is at its lowest level in 10 years, making the risk of power outage even greater. As a result, UK and US businesses don’t have the luxury of waiting for future investment in new power stations - companies need to have emergency plans in place that will address their data center needs today. Common practice for a CIO today is to invoke a combination of uninterruptible power systems and engine generators to remain operational during short ...
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    5. Finding the right incentives by Carol Wilson

      Finding the right incentives by Carol Wilson
      If you want to guarantee a flood of angry email responses, write something that appears to endorse the energy bill just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. I did, and the stream of vitriol that followed was stunning. “Idiot” was the kindest remark and “You are absolutely batty” the most succinct. When I could get past the nasty comments, the thinking fell along a few lines: First, that global warming is a myth perpetrated by Al Gore and others; second, implementing cap and trade measures for U.S. businesses will jettison our economy and cost jobs; and three, if India and China aren’t going to do this, why should the U.S.?
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    6. Geothermal Energy- A Two-way Proposition By Carol Wilson

      Geothermal Energy- A Two-way Proposition By Carol Wilson
      The quickest way for data center technology to gain credibility is for Google to adopt it. So when Google announced in 2008 that it was investing $10 million in three companies pursuing enhanced geothermal energy systems, interest in this form of powering data centers spiked. Geothermal technology is not new – it exists today even to heat and cool individual residences by using the relatively stable core temperature of the earth to regulate a home’s temperature. But geothermal powering at utility scale is a different animal.
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    7. Cap and Trade – In chaos, lies opportunity by Doug Mohney

      Cap and Trade – In chaos, lies opportunity by Doug Mohney
      While the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week containing carbon cap-and-trade measures, there's a long way to go before such measures will be passed. The real question is how can data center operators find advantages now? With the ink barely dry, numerous groups are gearing up to fight for modifications and outright killing the legislation in the Senate this year. However, regardless of the outcome of this bill, legislative efforts to curb and reduce greenhouse gases aren't going to go away. It is likely that your utility provider, regardless of how it generates power, is active looking for alternatives to reduce both power consumption and generate more green power. For a utility that has lots of "dirty"/carbon-generating power, reducing power needs means less gases in the air and the potential of swapping out some dirty-but-cheap electricity for greener-but-more-expensive power.
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      Mentions: Doug Mohney
    8. Are all renewable energy forms created equal? by Carol Wilson

      Are all renewable energy forms created equal? by Carol Wilson
      Each form of renewable energy – solar,wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and even biomass – has its advantages, but when it comes to powering data centers, not every renewable energy source has equal value. Until very recently, solar power was considered too expensive to adequately power data centers and it remains impractical except in areas where sunny days vastly outnumber cloudy ones. Just this week, i/o Data Centers made headlines by announcing its plans to put solar panels on the 11-acre roof of its new 538,000-square foot Phoenix ONE data center.
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      Mentions: Carol Wilson
    9. The evil and necessity of batteries by Doug Mohney

      The evil and necessity of batteries by Doug Mohney
      Lead acid batteries are nearly ubiquitous in data center usage. The technology is cheap, it's well-understood, and, from a green perspective, just butt-ugly. Unfortunately, replacing them with something more eco-friendly is neither easy nor cheap. The technology for lead-acid batteries goes back 150 years and represents the core around which nearly all UPSes operate from, regardless of size. While lead smelting and all those acidic compounds aren't good for the environment, there's an effective recycling program in place for old batteries. High-tech alternatives such as nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries are able to pack more energy into the same space, but both technologies are expensive and are likely to remain so over the next five years, with supply and demand being driven by the auto industry building hybrid and all-electric vehicles.  
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      Mentions: Google Doug Mohney
    10. Economic Concerns Have One Exception by Carol Wilson

      Economic Concerns Have One Exception by Carol Wilson
      Economic concerns have one exception There is no doubt that the economy has supplanted environmental concerns as a priority in the minds of most if not all business leaders over the last six months. Many companies had the best of intentions at the beginning of 2008 of pursuing “greener” pastures--more telecommuting to reduce driving; lower electricity consumption in offices; less non-essential business travel and incentives to encourage car-pooling and other employee energy-saving measures were all hot topics.
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    11. The price of carbon and your data center by Doug Mohney

      The price of carbon and your data center by Doug Mohney
      Recent market trading in Europe and U.S. estimates put the price of carbon at around $20 a ton today. By 2010, the non-profit Investor Responsibility Research Center thinks that the world will see pricing of $28.24 per ton, says Forbes. Regardless of the mechanism – a flat carbon emitter tax, cap-and-trade policies, or carbon offset buys – data center operators have to start factoring in the cost of carbon into their operation. First, let’s be honest: It is hard to predict the future with great certainty, doubly so when we move from lies, damned lies, and statistics into the realm of computer modeling built on assumptions that may or may not have to do anything with the real world. However, having said that, barring a sudden set of breakthroughs in energy generation and/or conservation, your electric bill has a good chance of having a carbon tax built into ...
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      Mentions: Doug Mohney Forbes
    12. Cooling Down By All Means by Doug Mohney

      Cooling Down By All Means by Doug Mohney
      Cooling, represented by the loud and noisy air conditioning units, is a major factor in the electrical bill and in the amount of carbonbeing pumped into the atmosphere. Reducing or even dumping the big blowers is becoming a major factor in data center design. IBM is working with Syracuse University and the State of New York to build a new computer data center for the University incorporating green features, reports CNET News. Among the more innovative features being rolled into the testbed/showcase facility is a liquid cooling system using double-effect absorption chillers to convert exhaust heat from the facility's microturbines into chilled water to cool the data center's servers; enough excess capacity is expected to be available to handle the needs of an adjacent building.
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    13. Demo versus Retro by Doug Mohney

      Demo versus Retro by Doug Mohney
      Building a showcase energy-efficient data center from the ground up is all the rage these days. Fewer companies want to talk about retrofitting existing data center facilities to be more green. For instance, Holyoke, Massachusetts is the latest city to join the from-the-ground-up energy-efficient showcase list. The University of Massachusetts, MIT, EMC and Cisco are getting together to building a "world-class green research high-performance computing center." Western Mass would seem to be an unlikely place to put a data center, but Holyoke – 90 miles from Boston and 10 miles way from Springfield - has cheap and clean hydroelectric power available from the Connecticut River, a good start for building a green data center.
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    14. Saving Green by Going Green by Tate Cantrell

      Saving Green by Going Green by Tate Cantrell
      It’s no secret that companies today are facing mounting pressure from government agencies, media and the concerned public to take major steps in reducing the environmental impact of their traditionally power-hungry data centers. Their efforts range from implementing basic energy assessment programs and enacting green design initiatives to using more eco-friendly materials and seeking out new power sources. In today’s tough economy though, it can’t be just about going green for goodness sake. Smart companies are seeking out opportunities for environmental projects that also work to whittle away at the corporate bottom line. Search for an area of rising cost where a reduction has an overall environmental benefit to a company’s green portfolio. Energy is the most obvious example. As such, power consumption has become a popular target area for greening a data center, but as companies are finding out, it’s not sufficient on its ...
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    15. Beyond Going Virtual by carol wilson

      Beyond Going Virtual by carol wilson
      Last week, I talked about how today’s data centers can be located almost anywhere, through the power of virtualization. We are certainly seeing this trend play out in the news. Just this week, Apple ended weeks of speculation by announcing its plans to base a data center in North Carolina. That state, and many others, are competing for these projects, offering tax incentives and more, because of the jobs they bring to the region. While Apple is saying the new facility will mean about 50 jobs, North Carolina officials expect the Apple data center project to generate more than 3000 total jobs, including construction jobs to build the facility – not something to sneeze at in this economy. What’s good for economic development isn’t always what’s best for the environment, however. One part of the appeal of the North Carolina site is the available power grid, as ...
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      Mentions: Carol Wilson
    16. Virtues of Virtual by Carol Wilson

      Virtues of Virtual by Carol Wilson
      Virtual reality is one of those terms forever associated with science fiction and gaming – I immediately think of the hologram deck on the USS Enterprise of the Star Trek: The Next Generation series. But “going virtual” as a networking and data center concept is a powerful idea that can reshape how and where data centers are built, and the way in which networks are used. By making more intelligent use of virtualization and smart networking, network operators and enterprises alike can not only save money but also reduce carbon emissions. The key is to consider the network as a seamless whole, and the data resources hanging off that network as shared facilities. Virtualization already does this within the data center – servers are no longer dedicated to individual applications, rather the virtualized server resources are shared across applications and thus used more efficiently. There is no under-utilized server capacity sitting idly ...
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      Mentions: Carol Wilson
    17. Iceland: Calm, Cool, Collected by Tate Cantrell

      Iceland:  Calm, Cool, Collected by Tate Cantrell
      With energy costs fluctuating and going up more than down, and data centers consuming a tremendous amount of energy there is a real need in the market for a solution that reduces energy and drives down overall cost. Data centers have historically required large, expensive chilling systems to keep all of the equipment at a regulated temperature. Now more than ever, companies are scrambling to find ways to reduce dependencies on the status quo and become more energy efficient all around. As this issue continues to become more and more vital, some companies are finding the answer to their power consumption worries exceedingly simple here in Iceland. While not a destination for spring breakers seeking warmer climes, Iceland is the perfect environment for 100% free cooling, 365 days of the year. The mean annual temperature is -0.5°C (30°F) in January and 10°C (50°F) in July ...
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