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back to article Data centers embrace The Great Outdoors

Some years ago, when power and cooling issues first started coming to the fore in data center conversations, some of us were joking that the smart thing to do would be to move big data centers to the polar caps and use the cool air keep the iron from overheating. Of course, the polar caps are melting now, thanks to global …

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Pah!

I was dong this 15 year ago when the heat exchanger for the 3081 failed. Open the windows at one end of the machine room, and the loading bay doors at the other end, and let the breeze through.

Put the PFY by the doors to keep out curious users and bob's yer uncle

The need for secure data centres really killed off ambiant air cooling, now we have to use forced air cos open windows* aren't secure.

* Insert your own Microsoft joke here.

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Victorian Air Con.. !

I worked in a Victoria hot house where they had mechanical control heat control which operated vents at floor level and in the ceiling we would set it at about 75 F and we would be fine. Used natural convection air flow so no fans. It had some cast iron heating pipes near the floor vents and these where great for warming your feet in the winter.

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Colt are doing this too

Colt Telecom have recently opened a new data centre that has air con that only kicks in when the temperature rises to 23 degrees, which is acceptable for all but the most intensive servers these days. Below that they figuratively "open the windows". Given that in the UK the temperature is above 23 degrees for less than 1/4 of the year this will generate a large saving in power and reduce the carbon footprint of this centre by a large amount.

Caveat: This is a brain dump from my leaky memory about something I read about in the company press some months ago. The centre exists and is does use external air for cooling. Everything else is 'variable'.

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