I got a chuckle at an event earlier this year when Sun Microsystems' Subodh Bapat referred to air-side economization as "a fancy term for opening the windows in the data center." It may be a basic concept, but some data center operators are finding significant gains by putting it into practice.
One example is the Red Rocks Data Center in Morrison, Colorado, which recently installed an air economizer system to cool a colocation room with 24 cabinets. The company launched a blog to document the project, complete with a photo gallery and a status page that provides a real-time indicator of whether the economizer system is in use, along with data about the company's energy savings. Early data suggest Red Rocks can save more than 75 percent on energy costs when the economizer is in use.
Climate is a key factor in whether air-side economization will be effective, since it can only be used at temperatures of 72 degrees or lower. The team at Red Rocks Data Center believes they'll get plenty of use out of its economizer system, and is giving it a prominent role in its green marketing story.