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October 18, 2012

Facebook, eBay, Microsoft Among 'Highly Energy-Efficient' Datacenters

Large Internet-related companies such as Facebook (News - Alert), eBay, Microsoft and Yahoo are examples of how data centers are benefiting from new innovations in design, energy management, cooling, and new deployment approaches to boost their energy efficiency, according to new industry research.

A recent report from 451 Research, titled “Highly Energy-Efficient Datacenters in Practice,” found that the proliferation of Internet and cloud computing services will continue to place increased demand and public focus on the datacenter operations of suppliers.

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eBay (News - Alert), Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo represent a “new breed” of operators taking an streamlined approach to achieve significant energy efficiency to cost-effectively meet growing datacenter demand. By integrating moving parts of a datacenter project, organizations can achieve significant efficiencies and savings, according to the report’s lead author Rhonda Ascierto, senior analyst in 451 Research’s Datacenter Technologies and Eco-Efficient IT practices

“Tightly integrating the various moving parts of a datacenter project, such as the parallel design of cooling and IT systems, can lead to results beyond what is possible with a piecemeal approach,” Ascierto said. “In very efficient datacenters, we are also seeing an increased emphasis on collaboration between datacenter facilities and IT operations within an organization, and between organizations and their consultants and vendors.”

The report from 451 Research’s Datacenter Technologies and Eco-Efficient IT practice includes case studies on 24 of the world’s most highly energy-efficient datacenters, some large and well-known, others smaller and more obscure.

Other highlights from the report include:

Datacenter eco-efficient IT has moved on from token or one-off efforts to limit energy use to a war on excess resource usage.

Power and cooling remain the top targets for efficiency. While free cooling is proliferating, operators are being far more cautious with direct current (DC) power distribution.

Though prefabricated modular datacenters are not inherently energy-efficient, their phased deployment can help operators avoid infrastructure overcapacity.

The datacenter owners and operators achieving high-energy efficiency demonstrate what can be done through innovation, focus, and investment. Many of the case studies serve as models for other operators to follow.

In related news, a study undertaken by IMS Research forecasts that power and cooling products supporting data center revenue will cross more than $15 billion by 2014. Income was about $13 billion in 2011.

The IMS Research had quantified the market for cooling products, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), racks and enclosures, floor and cabinet-level power distribution for its study. UPS emerged as the largest market worth more than $8 billion in year 2011.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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