Open Compute Project
While many of the largest companies in the world have begun seeing the benefits in housing their data centres in cooler climates, particularly in Scandinavia, this is not often a common option for many data centre providers on limited budgets, resources, or those that want easy access to their information.
However, in an attempt to better facilitate data centre efficiency away from the Nordics, Facebook developed its Open Compute Project (OCP) fostering a collaborative community to support the growing pressures placed on data centres by the latest technologies. OCP members share blueprint designs for efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of a data centre including costs, cooling, and environmental impact. Having launched the world’s most efficient data centre in the U.S., Facebook’s technologies are now helping other data centre providers deliver consistently low PUE scores and reducing cooling costs.
The data centre of the future is likely to move towards a more collaborative sharing platform where standard blueprints are available to provide basic requirements on cooling, power and architecture. OCP racks are larger than the standard size, up from 19 inches to 21, but this larger capacity will require less power and as a result, require less airflow requirements to lower cooling needs. With major companies including Google, IBM and AT&T having joined the project, the ability for established companies to provide innovations for the OCP will help shape the data centre of the future and ensure cooling is achievable, both to implement and in terms of costs for all players in the data centre market.
As technology propels data centres to run a 24/7 service, effective cooling methods must be in place to fuel future growth in the market and deliver data centres capable of handling the high power demands. While metrics such as power usage effectiveness (PUE) are available for data centre operators to measure their cooling, guaranteeing this is met on a consistent basis in the face of power-hungry technologies will mean that initiatives such as the OCP and trends like HPC will become more common place in data centres wishing to match competitor speeds and storage capacities with effective cooling.