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Stanford Data Center Uses Free Cooling

May 21, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

Stanford Energy ManageThe new on-campus Stanford Research Computing Center (SRCC) uses air-driven cooling.

Computing space at SRCC is allocated in terms of power. The SRCC facility can support 3 MW, of which roughly one-third will go to the School of Medicine, one-sixth to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the remaining power will be divided among other interested Stanford faculty, according to Stanford News.

SRCC uses an entirely air-driven system to keep the servers in their 60-80 degree comfort zone. This system could save as much as $1 million a year in energy costs spent cooling server rooms across campus, says the campus news source.

The cooling system relies on “free” outside air, fans and cold water pipes. Air comes in through the roof, then passes through industrial-sized fans and into the server room. Back-to-back rows of servers optimized for efficient air-flow take the cool air in through their front, then send heated air out into a sealed alleyway between rows. That space opens to an outlet in the building’s roof. A spokeswoman for the school said, “There was no one vendor for the system. It was designed and developed at Stanford.”

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