HP’s Wind-Cooled Data Center in Wynyard Opens

This is extremely interesting news, and has been covered widely in the business and technology press. HP designed and built a data center in Wynyard Park, England (near Billingham) which uses wind for nearly all its cooling needs.

EDS (purchased by HP) announced the building of the data center early in 2009, and the technology involved already was making news. DataCenter Knowledge had an article on it; ComputerWorld’s Patrick Thibodeau also had a very nice in-depth article on the planned data center. ComputerWorld followed up with an equally comprehensive article when the data center opened recently.

Another extensive and illuminating article was written by Andrew Nusca at SmartPlanet.

What is so interesting about the Wynyard data center?

  • It is wind-cooled, and uses a 12-foot plenum (with the equipment located on the floor above).
  • All racks are white, instead of black: this requires 40% less lighting in the data center.
  • Rainwater will be captured and filtered, then used to maintain the appropriate humidity.
  • The facility is calculated to have a PUE of 1.2 (one of the lowest ever). New energy-efficient data centers typically have a PUE of 1.5 or so.
  • HP estimates they could save as much as $4.16 million in power annually.

These are indeed exciting times for data center technology.

Energy Star Program for Data Centers

The EPA announced that they are expanding the Energy Star Program to include data centers; the measurements are expected to be finalized in June 2010.

The EPA is hoping that the new Energy Star rating for data centers will become a selling point for data centers. The new rating is based largely (but not completely) on the PUE (or Power Usage Effectiveness). William Kosik wrote an article in the September 2007 issue of Engineered Systems Magazine that explains PUE quite well and in detail.

Google talks about their efforts for power-efficient computing in their data centers in some depth; it’s very interesting.

IBM also announced just recently that they are building a new data center in Research Triangle Park where they will test effect of various temperature levels in the data center – and will cool it with outside air as well.

This is definitely an exciting time for data center power research; seems that there is something new every day.