Inside the Yahoo Computing Coop

As it open its Yahoo Computing Coop in New York State, Yahoo has released photos of its rack design that provide additional insight into the airflow management that drives the efficiency of the new facility.

Rich Miller

September 20, 2010

3 Min Read
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A look at the latest design for the server aisle at the Yahoo Computing Coop in Lockport, New York.

Yahoo! is holding a ribbon-cutting today to mark the opening of its new data center in Lockport, New York, which uses the company's innovative new Yahoo Computing Coop (YCC) design to dramatically reduce its electricity use. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and New York Gov. David Paterson will be on hand for the event.

Readers of Data Center Knowledge are familiar with the YCC building's design from our previous coverage of the Lockport project. Today Yahoo has released the first photos of its rack design (see above), which provide additional insight into the airflow management that drives the efficiency of the new facility.

Hot Aisle Containment
Each 120-foot by 60-foot Yahoo Computing Coop module has louvers along the side of the building that allow fresh air to enter into the data center. In the equipment area, the fresh air enters the front of the servers, and then exits into a contained hot aisle, which is topped by a chimney that leads into the upper chamber of the "coop." Depending on the conditions, the warm air can either be recirculated or vented through the cupola.

“The building itself is an air handler,” Scott Noteboom, the Director of Data Center Operations for Yahoo, told DCK earlier this year. “The entire building is meant to breathe, and there’s a lot of louvers and dampers to control the airflow.”

Yahoo Goes Chiller-Less
The Lockport data center will operate without chillers, which provide refrigerated water for cooling systems and are among the most energy-intensive components of a data center. The facility will use an evaporative cooling system during those 9 days a year when it is too warm to use fresh air. The buildings were positioned on the Lockport property to allow Yahoo to bring in cool air from either side of the coop, based on the prevailing winds.

Yahoo projects that the new facility will operate at a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.08, placing it among the most efficient facilities in the industry.

“With the Yahoo! Chicken Coop design, we are spending less than one cent for cooling for every dollar spent on electricity," said David Dibble of Yahoo. "Significantly reducing our electricity usage is not only good for the environment, but also good for our bottom line, giving Yahoo! a competitive advantage.”

Economic Impact
The Yahoo construction phase employed up to 500 workers at the 155,000 square foot site. The company expects to employ up to 125 workers in New York, who will also support a Yahoo! Operations Center, which monitors the Yahoo! infrastructure to ensure consistent uptime, and a Global Service Desk, a 24/7 IT support center for Yahoo! employees.

Yahoo says the Lockport data center will save enough energy to power more than 9,000 New York state households annually, and save enough water in one year to provide drinking water for 200,000 people.

“We’re thrilled to unveil our world-class data center in Lockport,” said Bartz. “Yahoo! is serious about sustainability and is leading efforts to address climate change. That’s why we believe in creating highly efficient data centers that minimize the impact on the environment.”

The exterior of the Yahoo Computing Coop buildings in Lockport, New York. The data center opened for business today.


The exterior of the Yahoo Computing Coop buildings in Lockport, New York. The data center opened for business today.

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