Post Fetaured Image

When to Go Green with Data Center Cooling -- 3 Case Studies

Posted by: Tina Behnke on Apr 1, 2011

Data-Center-CoolingIT departments are looking to reduce energy consumption and support a green initiative.  That key finding came through loud and clear on CDW Government's 2010 Energy Efficient IT Report.  The study polled 756 organizations, including 152 colleges, all developing plans to consolidate their data center and to save on energy consumption which would mean less data center cooling.

Jennifer Grayson wrote a great summary article for Campus Technology where she details 3 cases studies from higher ed institutions -- Loyola University Chicago, Randolph College and Thomas Jefferson University.  Here's my take-away from her article.

  1. Loyola University Chicago
    A requirement to move critical infrastructure from a building scheduled to be torn down forced Susan Malisch, vice president and CIO, to take a good look at the data center -- which was really nothing more than a temporary server room that had grown to accommodate the demands of a data center.  "The cooling apparatus was so poor that oscillating fans and temporary ductwork were deployed to try to control server temperature," said Malisch.  All this happened at the same time Loyola was getting ready to construct its first LEED-certified building so the IT staff tapped the head designer to design an energy-efficient data center. 

    To get this project going, Malisch and Dan Vonder Heide from infrastructure services attended a week long training workshop on data center design at the Uptime Institute.  Malisch advises Facilities and IT to attend the training together since communication is key.

    Bottom line -- Loyola installed winter-mode economizers and virtualized more than 70% of its servers.

    Take-away -- if circumstances present themselves, take advantage of the situation and GO FOR GREEN!

  2. Randolph College
    The IT staff was in the final stages of a campuswide wireless access rollout when Victor Gosnell took the helm as CTO in 2008.  It took Gosnell's fresh eyes to see the data center, with its 50+ physical servers, was crying out for attention.  Gosnell worked to virtualize 25 existing servers and when the project proved to be so easy and cost efficient, Gosnell virtualized 25 more servers.  Now their setup consists of three physical servers running 50 virtual servers!

    Bottom line -- Randolph took the recommendations from the new-hire and stepped out of their comfort zone to embrace change.

    Take-away -- The "new guys" new way may prove to be a better way.  Green technologies are constantly emerging so don't be afraid to try a new approach.

  3. Thomas Jefferson University
    It took a political and operational breakup between Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), an academic medical center, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a seperate teaching hospital to force this innovative, yet unorthodox data center solution.  For years, the two shared computing facilities and the arrangement had become pretty cozy.  When it was evident the relationship was ending, TJU pushed forth and migrated its computing assets to a 100% outsourced Tier 4 data center and disaster-recovery facility. 

    Bottom line -- TJU had to do things differently and they found emerging technologies, when deployed properly, were the answer to thier multi-faceted problems.

    Take-away -- It takes a road block for you to back up and fine another, often better, route to your destination.  Growth requires change... always be looking for a better way!


Download Grayson's full article here for all the details on these three case studies. 

Have you struggled to find a better way to save energy while meeting the demands of your data center?  Please share!!  Comment here and let me know.

Tags: Server Room Cooling, Data Center, Data Center Cooling