Case Studies: Data Center Efficiency Summit

The Google Data Center Efficiency Summit included a number of use cases that detailed how firms are putting theory into practice. Using less power and reducing costs through applying basic, low-cost fixes such as addressing cooling and airflow; simplifying hardware, gear and systems; and innovative approaches such as utilizing well water for cooling were presented as individual case studies from different companies.

Joe Kava - Google

Joe Kava of Google presented a case study of retrofits to five live network POPs.

Google's network POP efficiency makeover was conducted in three months on live server rooms. Taking 5 different server rooms that had a starting PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of 2.4, the team addressed airflow and cooling issues in several stages to ultimately bring the final PUE down to 1.5. The project's resulted in a 60 percent reduction in cooling overhead costs , saving about $65,000 annually. The investment into changes in the network POPs was $25,000. “We have to get into practice of just getting in there in and doing it,” he said of the basic, but important modifications.

Dean Nelson, of eBay, describing how he leverages density to support eBay

eBay's Dean Nelson pointed out that the industry is too cautious with cooling. “We baby these servers, they don't need to be babied,” he said. Also, working with his vendors, he simplified his equipment approach to two flavors – those that run Hadoop and “everything else.” He described Ebay's new data center in Phoenix that will launch this fall, utilizing hot water cooling and free air cooling. [See DCK coverage -eBay Right-Sizing Infrastructure As Growth Surges.]

Jochen Berger

Jochen Berger from European hosting provider, PlusServer discussed a water-cooled facility in France.

Jochen Berger of PlusServer, a European hosting company, spoke about DataDock, one of his firm's facilities that is located in Strousberg, France, which uses two ground water wells for cooling and then returns the water (after adding oxygen) to the Rhine River. The data center has no additional cooling equipment.

Chris Malone

Chris Malone of Google outlined best practices, such as fixing cooling problems.

Chris Malone, who works in R&D for Google's data center projects, offered this three-step recipe for best practices – fix cooling first, optimize electrical distribution, and then measure and improve. As all the day's speakers stated, deliberate attention to these issues will lead to better efficiency and reduced power costs to run the data center.

Mark Eichenberg

Mark Eichenberger of UBS shared his program of addressing inefficiencies in data centers throughout the global financial company.

Mark Einchenberger of Zurich-based financial services firm UBS spoke about how his team uses many small steps to lead to success. The scope of UBS operations are large, with more than 50 countries with offices, more than 65,000 employees and data centers in 12 countries. Einchenberger works within a very risk-averse organization, where every measure of change is weighed against possible risk. Applying a program of best practices in legacy environments over time (often when servers are being refreshed anyway) has led to a 7 percent reduction in power costs, which amounts to about $2 million Swiss Francs. (pr about $2.3 million USD)

Dileep Bhandarkar

Dileep Bhandarkar of Microsoft presents about the evolution of Microsoft's data center properties.

Dileep Bhandarkar of Microsoft discussed Microsoft's Dublin data center, which is 300,000 square feet, and uses free cooling (air-side economizers) to cool the servers. The facility is chiller-free.

Photos by Colleen Miller, Data Center Knowledge.

Read More: Industry Leaders Network at Google Summit