Green cloud from Microsoft's Dublin datacentre

Microsoft has opened its first datacentre in Europe to deliver cloud services to businesses.

What makes Microsoft's Dublin datacentre green? 
 By leveraging the "free-air"cooling and running the datacentre at a higher temperature, Microsoft has been able to avoid the use of chilled water cooling systems.
 Most servers deployed in the centre are designed to maximise performance and use less energy than previous generations of servers. These systems are shipped to the datacentre preinstalled into the server racks, resulting is substantial reductions in transport and packaging costs
 Microsoft monitors the IT systems (servers, storage, networking) to make sure they are fully utilised and not kept running in idle mode. It gathers data from systems monitoring provide the management team with visibility on the efficiency of the systems as well as the carbon generation.
Microsoft has opened its first datacentre in Europe to deliver cloud services to businesses.

The Dublin-based centre will support European organisations that need to comply with the EU Data Protection Directive, by allowing them to keep customer data within the EU, rather than using Microsoft's US datacentres.

This is an important development in the short history of cloud computing. Amazon, Google, Yahoo and eBay have wanted to become major cloud providers to the UK government but departmental leaders have been adamant that sensitive data will not be processed overseas. Those leaders may be more willing to allow data to be transferred to Dublin than the US.

Microsoft's site, which uses green technologies to reduce carbon emissions, will play a major role in Microsoft's Software plus Services strategy, which aims to connect people, data, devices and applications, says Jean-Philippe Courtois, president at Microsoft International.

"The opening of the datacentre is a milestone in our on-going investment in Europe and provides the critical infrastructure to support the delivery of our next-generation of online services for both businesses and consumers," says Courtois.

The $500m, 303,000 square-foot datacentre consumes 50% less power compared to an equivalent datacentre built three years ago. Sitting the datacentre in Dublin has helped Microsoft to cut cooling costs to almost zero. The region has a climate where the maximum temperature rarely exceeds 24°C.

Microsoft uses air-handling units to draw outside air down into the facility to cool the server rooms, and then return hot air back out to the roof. Other units vaporise water into the air to absorb heat, allowing the datacentre to maintain constant room temperature, regardless of the outside temperature. Further energy savings come by running the servers hotter, at 32.2°C instead of 21°C, which is the norm for datacentres.

The company has encouraged its staff to focus on efficiency to drive down the carbon footprint of the datacentre by offering green incentives. For instance, rather than remunerate datacentre managers on uptime, Microsoft offers rewards based energy efficiency.

Microsoft says its electricity consumption is 38% lower than a traditional datacentre. And by using air cooling, rather than water cooling, the facility saves 18 million litres of water.

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