At its Rio Rancho facility in New Mexico, Intel has come up with a novel way to cooling data centers by dunking them in oil and keeping them there. After some testing, the company is convinced it's a viable option as the mineral oil's cooling effect improves energy efficiency and server performance, and reduces energy costs.
Another nontraditional approach for data center cooling is found by recycling seawater as a means to amplify energy savings. Interxion touts the benefits of using the same seawater to cool two data centers and help heat neighboring homes and businesses.
The explosion of data centers can also put a strain on community relations. But strategic partnerships and collaboration early on in the data center siting process can help better engage communities. This article gives a nod to Duke Energy's Envision Charlotte project, which connects local business leaders with technological and municipal resources to "demonstrate Charlotte's national leadership as a sustainable, progressive, cost-efficient place to do business."
Clearly, we've seen dramatic changes in recent years on the way data centers can be designed and operated. It'll be interesting to see what the coming months bring in the evolution of new data center technology and the inevitable march towards cloud computing.