Some exemplary data center cooling techniques
Friday, Mar 7th 2014

Computers are hot. Any person who ever actually places a laptop on their lap knows this. After 20 or 30 minutes of uninterrupted computing - or sooner depending on the demands of the program you're running - the device starts to heat up a bit. If it is not given a rest, that heat can grow scorching. Now imagine that heat on an exponentially greater scale and you have an idea of the conditions of a data center. Without cooling options, data centers would quickly overheat and become completely unusable. For this reason, data room cooling systems represent one of the most integral components of any center's functionality. Here are some examples of facilities that take creative approaches to cooling, reaping benefits in the process:

1. Microsoft Data Center (Dublin, Ireland): The computing giant has dealt with a greater influx of big data ever since it began building its cloud platform. In order to accommodate its cloud presence in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East, the company built a data center in Dublin, according to Data Center Knowledge. But despite covering a massive 584,000 square feet, the facility does not use conventional chillers to maintain a good server room temperature. Instead, it uses fresh air.

Such a process would not be possible just anywhere. In an extremely hot region, for instance, using free air would present a greater challenge. However, by building the center in a naturally cool area like Dublin, Microsoft guaranteed its facility would benefit from outside air, thereby cutting cooling costs and remaining environmentally friendly. Microsoft's efforts have not gone unnoticed. The center received an award for Best European Enterprise Data Center Facility at the 6th Data Centres Europe 2010 Conference.

2. Verne Global Data Center (Keflavik, Iceland): If you plan on maximizing the benefits of outside air for data room cooling, there are few locations more optimal than near to the Arctic Circle. And that is exactly where the Verne Global Data Center set up shop. By placing its facility in one of the most consistently cool climates in the world, Verne Global guaranteed a steady stream of natural resources to keep servers chilled, Data Center Knowledge reported.

Data centers are often housed in buildings and locations repurposed from other industries. This is the case with Verne's facility, which was built on a former NATO base. Because it uses hydroelectric and geothermal power, the facility remains focused on environmental conservation even as it houses an energy-intensive operation. According to Verne's website, the center's cooling solutions enable it to cut costs by 80 percent. Because the Icelandic climate is so conducive to cooling data centers, Verne boasts the use of outside air as a cooling method 365 days a year.

3. Deltalis RadixCloud (Swiss Alps): Like Verne's facility, the Deltalis RadixCloud data  this center takes full advantage of a singularly incredible location. Buried in the center of the Swiss Alps, the Deltalis RadixCloud center uses glacial water to maintain a workable data center temperature, according to Energy Manager Today. Housed in an old Swiss Air Force base, the center remains cool year round.