IBM broke ground on what is planned to be one of the world's most efficient data centers. The $12.4 million, 6,000 square foot center, located on the Syracuse University campus in New York, is being built with the goal of using 50% less energy than existing facilities.
The facility will differentiate itself from other energy-efficient data centers by focusing on construction instead of just hardware and software. That means building an on-site electrical co-generation system with gas-fueled microturbine engines to generate electricity as well as water-cooled server racks. IBM will also use heat from the turbines to cool data center hardware and use excess heat to warm up other campus buildings.
Despite a focus on construction, IBM isn't ignoring the internal workings of the data center. The facility will contain numerous sensors to direct workloads to optimal servers, and will target cooling only to servers that need it, thereby preventing energy from being wasted on non-functional equipment.
IBM's data center, expected to be completed in five to six months, will be a testing ground for improvements in other IBM data centers. Energy-efficiency and energy generation techniques will be integrated into IBM's "Smarter Planet" initiative as they develop. If IBM can figure out new ways of saving energy in data centers at the Syracuse site, it will be able to save some serious cash—data centers in the U.S. use over 62 billion kilowatt hours of power annually for a cost of $4.5 billion.