As a bit of background and at the risk of stating the obvious, let’s quickly review some basics about energy efficiency and the Data Center. It has been estimated that on average, electricity costs account for over 40% of data center operational expenses. In 2006, American data centers consumed more electricity than all the televisions in America. The cost to power a typical server now exceeds the cost to buy it, when viewed over a three-year horizon. Data Centers typically operate more than 2.5 times the cooling capacity needed to maintain the IT equipment. On average, less than 50% of the cool air in a chilled-air data center actually makes it to the IT equipment.
Those first few points are likely already well understood by the reader, or are at least consistent with other similar metrics quoted in the Green dialogue. The last one, which speaks to the challenges of efficiently cooling IT equipment, is what I’d like to talk about in more depth.