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New Green Initiative Increases Data Center Efficiency

The Planet, the world’s largest privately held dedicated hosting company, today announced results of its six-month trial to reduce power consumption and increase data center operating efficiency. Initial results demonstrate that while critical server loads increased by 5 percent, power used for cooling decreased by 31 percent. Overall, the company experienced power reductions of up to 13.5 percent through a broad range of improvements. The new “green” initiatives, conducted across its six world-class data centers, are expected to deliver cost savings in excess of $1 million in 2008 alone.

The Planet also improved its “coefficient of efficiency,” an EPA- and Uptime Institute-recognized measurement of the total power necessary to operate a data center divided by critical power, which represents the energy required to operate its computers. The company increased its rating to 1.7 – a near-ideal number – from its previous “good” ranking of 2.0.

“With six data centers that house more than 50,000 servers, it’s important that we operate at peak performance to meet the demands of our 22,000 customers,” said Jeff Lowenberg, The Planet’s vice president, facilities. “At the same time, our goal is to conserve energy and drive operating efficiencies since power is a premium in every corner of the world. Ultimately, when we operate more efficiently, our customers reap the benefits since we’re able to spend capital on products and services that will enhance the customer experience.”

The Planet operates more than 150 30-ton computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units across its six data centers. In one data center alone, the company was able to turn off four of the units. The cooling requirement on two of the units was reduced to 50 percent of capacity, while another nine now operate at 25 percent of capacity. The company also extended the return air plenums on all of its down-flow CRAC units to optimize efficiency. In some cases, The Planet team was able to increase CRAC unit temperature settings by as much as 10 degrees while still meeting the thermal guidelines for data processing environments set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Overview of Improvements

Across the board, the company evaluated both its data center footprint and recommended guidelines from the Site Uptime Network, an invitation-only consortium of companies that operate data centers around the globe. The Planet also evaluated standards for air conditioning efficiency from ASHRAE to optimize operating performance. Among these improvements are the following:

  • Rearranged floor tiles to better manage cold airflow
  • Installed seals and grommets in the ceilings, walls and floors to reduce bypass airflow
  • Installed blanking plates in server cabinets to direct airflow more efficiently
  • Sealed power distribution units to reduce bypass airflow

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