Cooling the Google Data Center and the World

In a previous post called “Internet Pollution – The Dirty Secret of the Information Age” I spoke about how the methods and technologies used to cool data centers and the perceived need for people to have instant access to online messaging and archival data are propagating a huge amount of pollution.

On the advent of its 14th birthday Google unveiled its data center in Lenoir, North Carolina to the world. Google then disclosed one of its best kept secrets: "How it cools their multitudes of specialize servers in high density racks".

google-hotaisle image

The Coles notes of the Google cooling process is broken down as follows:

• The entire rooms serves as a cold isle
• Enclosed hot aisles are framed on either side by rows of racks
• Cooling coils circulate cooled water above the racks as a “ceiling” for the hot racks
• The ceiling in turn houses large stainless steel pipes that circulate water to and from cooling tower located in the equipment yard.

We can all agree that the technical knowledge and the applied science required to successfully create and to maintain such an enormous infrastructure is nothing less than incredible and is a very lofty achievement. What was not disclosed by Google was the raw data on their power consumption figures.

Google states that they are committed to reducing consumption and is actively engaged in increasing internal efficiency and give us lots of information to back up their approaches to do so. Creating and promoting energy efficiency does not start and stop at the data center. The more data and features we crave or think we need to have access to drives the machine of the industry and promotes pollution.

Data centers and information technology will continue to become more efficient but if data usage patterns continue to grow at current rates, the environmental benefits will be negligible and will probably even get worse. A fundamental paradigm shift in our global consciousness is necessary to curb our spiraling energy consumption patterns.

In a scenario akin to the decimation of the global environment due to our perceived dependence on petroleum, our escalating usage and reliance on technology requires all users to play an active role in promoting energy efficiency and furthering green technologies.

Comments are closed.