NetApp’s Pioneering Energy Star Data Center

Earlier this month the NetApp Data Center in Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina became the first facility to earn the Energy Star for Data Centers rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The NetApp facility is distinctive in its focus on airflow management, with a design that completely separates hot and cold air and provides granular control over air pressure throughout the facility. Here’s a closer look at The First Energy Star Data Center, and the infrastructure design that helped NetApp earn an exceptional rating (99 out of 100) from the EPA.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Hats off to Mark Skiff of NetApp and to George Hachem of CRB for a job well done! And special thanks to Mark for being willing to share his design info with all of us.

  2. I had the pleasure of touring the NetApp Data Centers in California and was impressed by the iterative designs they deployed. The first facility was inside a building and had carpet in it - quietest data center I have ever been in. They were using containment there which was effective and relatively low tech. I would call it v 1.0. Across the street, they had v 1.5 which was the predesessor to this new facility. I was awestruck at the common sense embedded in the design. It was more industrial than what these pictures of the new facility show, but by no means any less impressive. Using dock doors as cold air intakes with simple and effective air filtration to create a cold air plenum was genius. Using the computer room as the hot air plenum and venting the air to the outside via fans and a 'chimney' was just brilliant. Cold air was directed to the hallways that had sliding doors on either end where the front of the cabinets were kept cold, with the backs of the racks directing the warm air into the computer room which rose up to vent out the chimney. Net App - well done! You deserve the rating and the accolades.