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Google's Data Center Cooling Determined by Geography and Climate

Posted by: Tina Behnke on May 27, 2011

I have to admit, when it comes to computers and technology, I'm really not much of a nuts and bolts kind of person. I like the end product, the big picture view -- the application software, not the programming. But the recent news about Google's venture into data center cooling with sea water has me fascinated! Just look at the photo of the "guts" of the cooling system, as featured in Data Center Dynamics.


In DatacenterDynamics, Penny Jones writes about Google Director of Datacenter Operations Joe Kava's remarks this week at the Google Datacenter Summit in Zurich, Switzerland. "The purpose of the summit was to educate smaller data center operators on what they could do to ensure better data center efficiency in the future," writes Jones.

Kava confirmed what I wrote about in "Data Center Cooling with Sea Water. Yup, Google Did It!", this sea water cooling method should not be attempted by the smaller data centers because it's not likely to be financially beneficial. Kava emphasized, "Free cooling is very important to us. We believe in it but there is no one answer (to data center cooling). You have to look at what opportunities you have with geography and climate. All three of our systems (data centers) use 100% different designs."

Sea Water Data Center Cooling Design Challenges

The site in Hamina, Finland had existing infrastructure in place, including the 1/4 mile long solid granite tunnel big enough to drive a tractor through. So Google's unique sea water cooling system had little environmental impact from initial construction. 

But there was work to do to ensure this method would provide a viable cooling solution for the data center. Google combed through 30 years of sea water temperature records and conducted thermal modeling to predict the effects of wind, direction of the tide and the density of the sea water. They also had to address the corrosive nature of sea water and use fiberglass-reinforced piping and titanium plates in the sea water exchangers. To maintain the integrity of the system, there are four levels of filtration and screening; from course to very fine. The whole design process is fascinating!

Google's data center in Finland is still under construction. I can't wait till it officially opens. I hope we'll get to peak behind the closed doors and see how this data center cooling machine runs! Listen to me, I'm sounding like a data center groupie! I'll keep you posted. Please sign up for this blog with your email or subscribe via RSS feed if you want to keep informed on industry trends, new technology and all the many uses of portable air conditioners.  Although Google has used our equipment, I don't think we'll be shipping spot coolers to Finland to cool this data center!



Tags: Data Center, HVAC Industry, Data Center Cooling