MUNICH, Germany — Intel and T-Systems last week unveiled a new research facility aimed at developing the greenest data centers possible, and deploying those technologies to market rapidly.

DataCenter2020, a test facility jointly developed by Intel and T-Systems, the business-facing data solutions unit of Deutsche Telekom, is a 70-square-meter test floor of data center space where researchers can put green IT best practices to work in order to lower the costs and environmental impacts of corporate computing facilities.

"This project is the first and only one worldwide that is devoted completely to the issue of energy efficiency in data centers," Olaf Heyden, T-Systems director and head of ICT Operations, said in a statement. "Since the energy consumption of data centers worldwide is on the rise, the analysis will play a key role in minimizing CO2 emissions and lowering costs. And since environmental protection concerns all of us, we will publish the findings of our research online."

The partnership brings together Intel's hardware -- about 180 servers, according to the company -- and infrastructure from T-Systems, along with 20 employees from both firms that are dedicated to testing all the elements of a data center to find the most efficient technologies.

Among the features of the facility are a smoke machine to make airflow in the test data center visible, an adjustable-height ceiling that can raise from 2.5 meters to 3.7 meters, and adjustable walls to increase or decrease floor space; the researchers will also test cooling technologies for maximum efficiency.

One goal of DataCenter2020 is to develop a facility with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 1.3. The PUE is a measure developed by the Green Grid to indicate how much of the electricity going into a data center powers computing, rather than non-computing elements like lighting and cooling.

Average data centers currently have PUEs of anywhere from 1.8 to 3.0; among the most efficient PUEs reported are 1.12 from Google, although data center designer KC Mares recently said he had achieved PUEs of less than 1.10 in three facilities.

More about the DataCenter2020 project is online (in German only) at DataCenter2020.de; a Google Translate version of the page is available here.