What Color is Your Cabinet?

Is white the new black in the data center? Cisco is using white cabinets in its new Richardson, Texas data center, saying the added reflectivity will help cut lighting costs.

Is white the new black in the data center? It is at Cisco Systems' new data center in Richardson, Texas, which the company has outfitted with its latest Data Center 3.0 technology. The facility's design focuses on energy savings, including lower voltage lighting inside the data center, and a decision on cabinets.

"We chose white cabinets, rather than gray, so more light would be reflected from them," Andy Broer, IT manager of data center infrastructure at Cisco, says in a profile of the new data center at Cisco.com. It's not alone, as 1&1's recent data center in Lenexa, Kansas also sports some white cabinets. Sun Microsystems' Project Blackbox container often is delivered in a white container, rather than the black unit with green logo that Sun showcased on a publicity tour.

Does this mean the end of the "Darth Vader data center," with rows of black racks and cabinets populated with black servers? Many rack and cabinet vendors offer color options, with white and blue typically being the most common. Is there something timeless about those black racks that appeals to our inner data center geek? Will racks and cabinets shift over to more reflective colors to save watts on lighting? Or is all this "green data center" talk making us daft? What color are your cabinets?

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