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John Weston

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Cloud on Your Terms: A Lot of Water in a Data Center

Part 20: How to cool a bunch of servers

Back in September the team I am on got to visit our "Cloud" Data Center in San Antonio, Texas. Now they wouldn't let us take pictures of the insides, but I have to tell you about some of the things I saw. You have all seen Data Centers, raised floor and lots of air conditioning especially here in HOT Texas in the summers. It takes a huge amount of electricity to cool a large data center. Well when we built San Antonio Data Center back in 2008, we wanted to be as Green as possible. Check out this Blog entry about the data center from http://www.greenm3.com/ Green Data Center Blog.

We use chilled water to provide the air conditioning or cooling. To chill water, you have evaporate water into the air to cool the water. This could take millions and millions of gallons for a Data Center of this size. We have a special arrangement with the City of San Antonio. We take "Grey water" from the city sewer system, and rain water collected on the massive roof to use to evaporate to created chilled water. More about this process on that Green Data Center Blog. The chilled water is 47 degrees. We store a huge amount of it, I think they said over 500,000 gallons of it. Look in this picture(courtesy of greenm3.com/San Antonio paper, and areo photo)

At the bottom of the picture is the white storage tank that stores the water for us. There is one at each end of the building. This is enough water to cool all the servers for about 12 minutes if we were to loose power. I know not a long time. So we would start up our generators, then we could start chilling water again within the 12 minute timeframe.

If I could show you the inside of the data center, the raised floor has water pipes running under the servers, air is blown over these pipes and that provides the chilling for each room of servers.

We put out lots of information about the design of our Data Centers. You can read more or watch the videos on www.globalfoundationservices.com

San Antonio is a V2 of our Data Centers, We are now building V4 of our Data Centers.

Check out this video from www.globalfoundationservices.com that we posted on youtube.com

More Stories By John Weston

John Weston is a Cloud IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft.http://aka.ms/syscntr During the last ten years he has spoken to thousands of IT Professionals across the country. Before joining Microsoft full time, he spent six years as an MCT, training people at a local college and getting new Microsoft hires up to speed. He holds more certifications than he can remember, but the list definitely includes MCITP, MCSE, MCDBA, MCT, and CCNA. Before becoming and MCT, Weston co-owned a software development and consulting firm that was a Microsoft Partner based in Dallas. His primary blog includes http://blogs.technet.com/b/jweston.