World's Greenest Data Center? IBM and Syracuse Complete Their Game-Changing Project (Video)

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Back at the end of May, we wrote about IBM and Syracuse working on a data center that would use 50% less energy than standard data centers. This week they announced the project is completed, finishing up in a mere 6 months a $12.4 million, 12,000-square-foot facility that has on-site power generation, energy-efficient servers, and the latest and greatest cooling technology. It's not in a nuclear bunker or under a cathedral, but it's a big splash for the data center industry nevertheless. Might it be the world's greenest?

IBM made the announcement earlier this week and while the center is complete, it won't be online until January.

The data center technology won't stick to Syracuse University alone. According to IBM, "SU will utilize the center as its primary computing facility. In addition, as part of the GDC project, IBM and SU intend to establish a GDC Analysis and Design Center in 2010 to offer research and analysis services for clients and others who want to build new energy efficient data centers or optimize the efficiency of current centers."

"Together, IBM and Syracuse are tackling a significant problem -- how to address the skyrocketing amount of energy used by today's data centers, which is impacting businesses and institutions of all sizes," says Vijay Lund, vice president for cross-IBM offerings in IBM's Software Group. "We looked beyond conventional wisdom and addressed the broader issues of where and how to generate the electricity, how to cool the data center and how to make the computers more effective and efficient. This unique end-to-end focus has resulted in a smarter, cost-effective, greener data center."

Indeed limiting the energy consumption of data centers is a really big deal, as data centers currently use about 1% of the world's electricity and that's growing. At 50% less power consumption, ranks among the world's most energy efficient. What's more, it can operate completely off grid thanks to on-site electrical tri-generation system that uses natural gas-fueled microturbines. It also uses a liquid cooling system that uses double-effect absorption chillers to convert the exhaust heat from the microturbines into chilled water to cool the servers.

With all of these features, it does indeed rank high among the world's greenest data centers. And it (thankfully) sets the bar a whole, whole lot higher for current and future data center projects.