Photo via LooseBolts
A major goal for data centers is a high PUE or Power Usage Effectiveness - a measurement of how much energy going into the data center is used on IT machinery instead of heating, cooling and other facility management. The lower the PUE number, the more energy efficient the data center is reckoned to be. A perfect PUE is 1.
The industry standard sits squarely at 2. Microsoft is at 1.22, while Google, in that Price Is Right style is just a fraction better at 1.21 (though one of their centers tested at 1.13). Microsoft is working to improve that smidgen difference with its new shipping container-based data center set up in the Chicago area. Microsoft's new facility is undergoing testing, but with a creative structure, it will likely find some significant energy savings:
Microsoft's Mike Manos unveiled the details about the Chicago facility in ablog post last week. In it, he explained some of the details of the site, including that Microsoft is using standard-sized shipping containers that can each house as many as 2500 servers, which Manos called "a density of 10 times the amount of compute in the equivalent space in a traditional data center." - Greener Computing
Shipping containers have been finding popularity for housing, and it is interesting to see creative uses for them expanding.
"The facility is already simply amazing and it's a wonder to behold," Manos writes of the $550 million, 500,000 square foot facility in Northlake, Illinois. "The joke we use internally is that this is not your mother's data center. You get that impression from the first moment you step into the 'hangar bay' on the first floor. The hangar's first floor (pictured above) will house the container deployments and I can assure you it is like no data center you have ever seen. It's one more step to the industrialization of the IT world, or at least the cloud-scale operations space."
The competition for efficiency between Microsoft and Google is possibly one of the best competitions we could ask for. Data centers are major energy suckers, and for the biggest names in the industry to be scrambling to get to a perfect PUE first is exciting to watch.
Loads more info about Microsoft's shipping container data center facility is available at LooseBolts
Via datacenter knowledge
More on Greener Data Centers:
Google Setting the Bar on Data Center Efficiency
Designing Radically Efficient and Profitable Data Centers
Saving Energy in Data Centers with Smart Sensors and Algorithms