Boston, Mass. – Today is the Golden Age of data center growth, and while the U.S. is still the leader in large co-location data center development, a robust emerging market exists in 12 high-growth regions, with Germany, Turkey and China growing the fastest, despite power and water supply constraints, according to Lux Research.
With 50 watts of cooling required for each 100 watts of server capacity, the demand for cooling equipment, already at $1 billion per year globally, will grow in lockstep with the growth of data centers – rising over 60% in the next five years. Globally, data centers already use equipment to cool about 50 GW of electricity – 40% more than New York City on the hottest day of the year.
“The next few years are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build the infrastructure that will power the Internet of Things,” said Alex Herceg, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Blowing Hot Air - Uncovering Opportunities to Cool the World's Data Centers.”
“The mega-sized data centers have remarkable energy and cooling requirements, and technologies are competing to supply the robust cooling infrastructure necessary to support these facilities at the lowest total cost of operation,” he added.
Lux Research analysts studied 12 established and emerging cooling technologies to evaluate which are best poised to serve the growing mega-size data center market, and compared them in their energy and water input requirements. Among their findings:
Evaporative cooling is best for large-scale centers. Evaporative cooling has emerged as the dominant cooling method for data centers greater than 1MW, with a 10-year total cost of ownership (TCO) of $575/kW. Facebook mainly uses this technology to run some of the world’s most efficient data centers.
Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) best for smaller data centers. In Lux's TCO analysis, CRAC-Air-cooled technology emerged the best for smaller data centers with TCO ranging between $5,000 and $15,000 for a server capacity of 150 kW/m2, depending on the cost of electricity. Water- and glycol-based cooling technology came second and third, respectively.
Climate is no longer king. In the past, data centers were located in cool places, such as Google’s Hamina, Finland site. However, benchmark guidelines for temperatures and relative humidity have risen, and the leading metrics to determine locations are now power usage effectiveness (PUE) and TCO.
The report, titled “Blowing Hot Air - Uncovering Opportunities to Cool the World's Data Centers,” is part of the Lux Research Efficient Building Systems Intelligence service.
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