Each of these innovative datacenters represents the best in class for a design or operational factor. Google's employee sauna? That's just a bonus.
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Facebook in Forest City, North Carolina
Facebook was the first company to incorporate ambient-air cooling of its servers, in its data center in Prineville, Ore. Prineville is in the high desert, where the air is dry and cool at night.
Facebook's first live test of the Open Compute Project's outdoor-air and evaporative cooling designs in a locale with high ambient temperatures took place in Forest City, an environment where temperature and humidity frequently stray outside the ideal range for data center operations. The servers run at a maximum temperature of 85°F (29°C) and maximum relative humidity of 90%. The air cooling system proved to work well even when the outside temperature reached 102°F (39°C).
One accepted measure of data-center efficiency is the PUE (power usage effectiveness), developed by The Green Grid. PUE is the ratio of power coming into the center to power applied to computing tasks; the ideal PUE is 1.0. Since it doesn't need to run chillers, Forest City achieves a PUE around 1.07, similar to that of Prineville. That's about the best in the business today.
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