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Galileo aims for datacentres in a cold climate

Datacentre design specialist predicts climate will become a key factor in locating new server farms as energy demand from cooling systems continues to climb

James Murray, BusinessGreen 29 Jan 2008

The case for locating datacentres in colder climates will strengthen significantly over the next decade as firms face increased pressure to cut the energy and carbon footprint of their IT infrastructure.

That is the view of Julian King, chief executive at datacentre design and development firm Galileo Connect, who today outlined plans to pursue a new approach to datacentre location and design that could cut carbon emissions and energy costs by up to 60 per cent compared with conventional service farms.

"There is initial reluctance to look at locating datacentres in cold climates as it is not the industry norm," admitted King. "But logically when a huge drain on energy is cooling a datacentre, why would you not want to be in a colder climate?"

Opposition to remote datacentres will dissipate over the next five to 10 years, King predicted, as energy costs rise and legislation governing carbon emissions forces firms to investigate ways of reducing the energy intensity of their IT infrastructure.

However, he warned that for such savings to be realised, governments would have to invest in the necessary supporting infrastructure, such as power supplies and increased bandwidth. "The success of these types of datacentres rests on someone being willing to invest up front in the supporting infrastructure and that type of investment should happen at the governmental level," he argued. "It is like an emerging tourist resort; the airport needs to go in first to make it a success and that is up to the government, not the travel operator."

Galileo Connect recently began work on a major green datacentre project in Australia based around these principles that the company intends to use as a model for its future datacentre designs.

King said the Canberra location was chosen mainly due to the region's cooler climate compared to the rest of Australia, adding that the 240,000 square foot facility would also be located next to a new 120MW gas fired power station in an effort to further enhance energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions. " The project is the planning phase and we intend to use all the latest systems to cut energy use, including deploying short runs of pipe and cables to minimise energy loss and reusing waste heat from the power plant," he explained.

In related news, UK-based eLINIA today became the latest web hosting provider to offer customers a carbon neutral service after announcing it has signed a deal to rent space in a biomass-powered datacentre in Slough.

James Carnie, technical architect at eLINIA, said that in addition to the new carbon-free service the company was also offering customers the opportunity to offset emissions associated with hosting provided at its existing Cardiff datacentre.