Understanding Water Usage In Terms Of Data Center Operations

data center operations

Unfortunately, not enough people are discussing about how to tackle the issue of water usage in the data center industry. One of the reasons why few solutions can address this issue is because conventional approaches tend to involve a trade-off – increasing energy consumption.

Acknowledging the Energy Issue

The data center industry has been struggling with the age-old power-hungry problem. Increasing energy consumption is not a sound way to solve the water problem. It is not a sustainable solution. By their very nature, data centers require a massive amount of resources to deliver an array of services. Industry groups, such as the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), address rising energy concerns through temperature and usage standards. Thanks to the innovation of cleaner designs and the construction of greener buildings, the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of data centers have significantly decreased over the past decade.

High Levels of Water Usage

The industry cannot afford to get complacent at this point of time. Yes, it is positive news that the overall energy consumption of data centers is being reduced around the world, but there’s more that needs to be done when it comes to decreasing water usage. Open-cell towers, for example, utilize evaporative cooling methods to cool the air with water before transporting it back into the data center. While this solution reduces energy consumption, the amount of water needed for the job is still very high.

The mission: Keep energy low while reducing water usage. This is something you need to etch into the back of your mind. In 2020, it is estimated that approximately 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will tap on the processing capabilities of data centers. It is never too early to start raising the issue of water reduction, so you can ride that wave. In fact, it is the first step in creating effective solutions so that the industry can do something about it.

Understanding Free Cooling

The first question everyone should be asking themselves is how they can adjust or program cooling systems to reject heat more efficiently. Let’s say that your server generates about 125 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. The idea is to capture that heat and bring it to the atmosphere, while making sure it is close to that temperature. However, it still depends on the absorption system.

If you can bring water back at a temperature in the high 90s, the system can achieve a significant amount of economization of the atmosphere, without high water usage for cooling purposes. The external temperature of the data center will likely be above 95 degrees Fahrenheit for a small part of the year. However, the temperature will be below that for most parts of the year. This way, water is only used when absolutely needed, thus creating free cooling.

What are your thoughts about water usage in the data center industry? If you are planning to achieve greater energy efficiency in your daily data center operations, and want to look for viable solutions, do not hesitate to contact ANEXIO’s data center experts for more information.