Google finds success with free cooling

Google recently opened a data center in Belgium that sparked some controversy because it did not include any chillers. Instead, it depends entirely on free cooling, something that most data centers will only rely on for part of their temperature management needs.

Data Center Knowledge reports Google’s experiment has paid off, and the chiller-less data center is delivering spectacular results.

In just more than a year, the facility has already emerged as Google’s top performer. Its 12-month average for power usage efficiency stands at 1.11, and its PUE dropped to 1.09 during the first quarter of 2011.

This growth reduced the company’s overall data center PUE to just 1.16 during the first quarter.

PUE is rapidly emerging as one of the most powerful measures of efficiency in the data center. Essentially, it tracks how much power from the electrical system makes it to the equipment in server racks. Therefore, a data center with a 1.0 PUE would use absolutely no energy for anything other than IT systems.

However, PUE has come under some scrutiny due to its limited scope. Recently, Green Grid and the Data Center Metrics Coordination Taskforce made a few key revisions to the PUE standard to overcome some of its limitations.