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Data Center

Earth Day sees Rackspace embrace green datacentres

On paper, Crawley, West Sussex [a town some 30 miles south of London] may not be a poster child for green computing. But thanks to Rackspace, it’s home to one of the most energy efficient datacentres in the country.

Yesterday saw the opening of the hosting company’s new data centre, coinciding nicely with this year’s Earth Day. “This data centre is the epitome of intelligent 21st century infrastructure engineering,” said Rackspace COO Mark Roenigk, before calling the Crawley site the “newest and most sustainable datacenter in the UK.”

Matt Miszewski, Senior Vice President at Digital Realty – the company that built the datacentre – said it was a “shining example” of a datacenter that “does the right thing for the environment.” It’s green design includes the use of roof-mounted “indirect outside air” cooling: this method makes use of cooler UK weather and removes the need for mechanical cooling. The 15-acre campus also collects rainwater from the roof which is then stored underground, and includes natural lighting from the roof down to the operations floor.

The large yet unassuming (and un-signposted) building, measuring some 130,000 sq. ft., will initially host some 50,000 physical servers when fully running. Thanks to these green ideas, the building provides a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.15 where the average is around 1.7, but measurements of 2 or more are not uncommon. We’re told that this offers savings of around £30-40 per kilowatt a month in a datacentre that will eventually run 12 megawatts (that’s 12,000 kilowatts).

The building features designs from the Open Compute Project – an initiative launched by Facebook to share energy efficient and scalable datacentre blueprints – and it was announced that the full design of the building would be released back to the project.

The opening also saw the ribbon cut by local Conservative candidate and standing MP, Henry Smith. Immensely proud of his newfound knowledge of what PUE is, his presence shows the growing importance of politicians showing off their tech credentials.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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