In a blog post, Equinix notes that current customer requirements are based on legacy performance criteria, which makes it difficult for even the greenest vendors to make further inroads for sustainability. According to Equinix, technology advances in the past years have enabled for IT equipment and data centres to operate much more efficiently and reliably, but because customers are still working with traditional performance indicators, many of those advances are not being taking advantage of.
“For example, the typical RFP submitted to Equinix today requires a data centre operating temperature of around 22ºC. This requirement is identical to RFPs from 10 years ago, even though IT vendor technology, design and tolerances have evolved substantially in that time,” Equinix said. “The latest EU ETSI guidelines, again, not developed in a vacuum, allow operating temperatures of up to 35ºC (95ºF) which, notably, is within the operating parameters of a blade server.”
There are some positive signs, Equinix pointed out. “Already, for example, many organizations are moving away from always running a 2N power and cooling system, since with today’s technology, N+1 topologies have been proven to consistently deliver 99.999%+ availability while dramatically decreasing hardware costs, energy consumption and total cost of ownership.”
For its part, Equinix is investing in a number of key technologies to minimise its energy profile and improve the sustainability of its facilities. These include”
– retrofitting its data centres, consisting of some 550,000 square meters of space, with motion-activated lighting systems, long-life LED and compact fluorescent lights that consume 75% less energy.
– the use of eco-mode UPS, which allows AC power to flow directly to equipment, reducing energy loss while maintaining the appropriate levels of reliability.
– physically separating equipment according to its operating temperature when it can, to decrease cooling requirements
– using air containment systems for both hot and cold aisle where it is practical to maximum efficiency of air management equipment and enable higher density computing deployments.
– and recommending its customers use cabinet blanking plates to maintain hot and cold airflow separation.
“Rather than pursuing an abstract or potentially outdated ideal, always demand: What’s ‘good enough’?” Equinix said. “To help answer that question, Equinix employs data center engineers who are experts at configuring and deploying equipment for the best results. In addition, Equinix invests in operations analysts who, backed by state-of-the-art predictive tools, constantly research new techniques for increasing efficiency and decreasing power consumption.”