Sustainability Report 2016: Did Our Data Centers Get Greener?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, May 11th 2017 — Categories: Data Center Design, Green Data Center

Green House Data released our first Sustainability Report last year, covering the calendar year of 2015. Our goal for this initial report was largely to set a baseline by which we can measure our environmental impact from year to year, as well as to maintain our goal of transparency as a company.

As we’ve written about many times before, the data center industry is not particularly environmentally friendly. We consume millions and billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is our biggest contributor to emissions. But computing equipment also has a significant toll on the environment. We also consume quite a bit of water.

By focusing on energy-efficient design and operation methods like free cooling and aisle containment, data centers can reduce consumption. Green House Data goes beyond low PUE ratings and tries to be as green as possible throughout our operations.

How did we fare in 2016? Let’s take a look at some Sustainability Report highlights to find out.

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Computers Aren’t Replacing Humans in the Data Center Just Yet

Written by Aaron Bell on Tuesday, February 21st 2017 — Categories: Data Center Design

Automation, and in particular, computer automation, has changed everything from the jobs we do from the cars we drive. Naturally, it has reached the data center as well, the nexus that stores and controls many of the systems driving automation in other spheres. But, even in a world where hardware and software can function more intelligently than ever, it still takes people to make everything go.

Most of us have been in the spot where we just want something to work. When you fire up your laptop, you want the internet to come on, or when you look for your electronic files, you want them to be accessible in the last place you left them.

In the endless quest for uptime and systems that just work, software and hardware pieces of data centers have both seen increased automation — but the robots aren’t replacing human service technicians just yet. 

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Open-Source Networking? How Disaggregation Found Its Way Into the Data Center

Written by Alex Kirby on Thursday, February 2nd 2017 — Categories: Data Center Design, Networking and Fiber

Here you are. You have all documentation ready and in-hand to present to your manager. The year is 2004, and you are pitching a new idea for updating the company’s existing network core infrastructure. The terms “cost-savings,” “scalable,” and “extensible” are prevalent within the proposal documents. You are unsure if the terms “open-source” and “networking” were ever mentioned in the same sentence before. However, the solution is simple: build a network that is non-blocking, resilient, predictable, and manageable.

Additionally, you adopt and include the operational efficiencies seen within your SysAdmin department. Who doesn’t love streamlined provisioning, broad visibility into resource utilization, and scalable deployment of services? What if we could provide the same network technologies across a variety of hardware platforms?

It turns out we can, using open-source networking to decouple hardware vendors from software. While this is only one option available in the market and may not work for every enterprise organization, the disaggregation of network hardware and software has some definite advantages.

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Is Building Your Own Cloud Ever Cheaper Than Going Public?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, November 15th 2016 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Security

Private vs. public cloud is a battle many thought was over years ago, and some recent think pieces seem to confirm that notion, claiming no one can match the economies of scale delivered by hyperscale cloud providers.

But private cloud, or on-premise virtualization, can still be a less expensive option — if you have the staff and capabilities to support it. A recent study from 451 Research describes when the tipping point is in the favor of private cloud and when public cloud has a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), based on utilization of hardware and efficiency of your staff.

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See All 61 Security, Control, and Audit Points in Our Data Centers

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, September 29th 2016 — Categories: Data Center Design, Security

How secure is your data center? In order to guarantee security, maintain uptime, and pass HIPAA and SSAE 16 Type II certifications, Green House Data has over sixty auditable security, environmental, and compliance control measures. Each compliant data center is audited once per year.

Some of these control points are standard practice, while others had to be added to daily routines in some facilities in order to gain compliance and bring them up to our strict standards. This list can help you get your data center up to speed – or see just how much effort goes into keeping server rooms monitored, secured, and fully auditable.

See all 61 points we check for security and auditability after the jump.

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Data Center Energy Efficiency Benchmarks Continue to Morph

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, May 10th 2016 — Categories: Data Center Design, Green Data Center

For the past decade, Power Usage Effectiveness has been the most common standard to measure data center energy efficiency. While PUE remains in the news with recent controversy over its inclusion in the latest ASHRAE standards, other energy efficiency metrics are starting to catch on – specifically server utilization.

We’ve covered PUE before on the blog, but basically it’s the ratio of overall power used to power used for strictly computing equipment. The closer to a 1.0 ratio, the more efficient the facility.

As the industry has matured, PUE has come under fire as being too simple, easy to manipulate, or failing to consider other environmental concerns. This led to the development of other data center energy efficiency and environmental impact measurements and benchmarks, for renewable use, reeuse of energy, and even water consumption.

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Stamping Out the Main Causes of Data Center Downtime

Written by Art Salazar on Tuesday, April 26th 2016 — Categories: Data Center Design, Security

With the average cost of data center outages hovering at $740,000 (according to a Ponemon / Emerson study from 2016), operators must take action to avoid the most common causes of downtime. Let’s take a quick dive into the leading origins of unplanned downtime and how you can avoid them in your data center.

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Survey: Data Center Pros Weigh in on Edge Data Centers

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, April 20th 2016 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation, Data Center Design

Edge data centers have a lot of buzz these days as a way to deliver services outside of core markets. But do actual data center operators have any interest in edge facilities? And what exactly is an edge data center, anyway?

Green House Data surveyed 492 IT professionals, with 38% being Executive level. The results indicate a mild interest in edge data centers, but mostly for future deployments. 18% currently use an edge data center, with 46% planning to add an edge facility within the next 12 months. 54%, meanwhile, do not plan to add an edge data center.

Read on to see the full survey results.

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Quarterly Wrap Up: Top Data Center News

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 14th 2016 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Colocation, Data Center Design, Green Data Center, Networking and Fiber, Security

Can you believe we’re already over a quarter of the way through 2016? Feels like we were just posting our 2015 blog wrap up yesterday. But here we are—the data center world keeps spinning. In case you missed something in the past three and a half months, we’ve collected our top blog posts and some of the most popular data center news headlines from around the blogosphere in today’s post.

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Data Center Access Controls at the Cabinet and Rack Level

Written by Art Salazar on Thursday, April 7th 2016 — Categories: Colocation, Data Center Design, Security

As data center design continues to evolve, one stalwart piece hasn’t changed too much: cabinet or rack security and monitoring. After all, how complicated can a door lock get? While most every data center will have some form of lock on their racks and/or cabinets, especially colocation facilities as they have multiple clients accessing shared floor space, not all locks are created equal. Newer technologies allow automated access logs, biometric security, wireless unlocking, and more.

With different compliance standards and security requirements for various applications, some colocation providers will install custom locks for your cabinet if necessary. Physical security measures remain vitally important, as social engineering and theft can extend to hardware and not just data. How then do data center providers go about securing cabinets and racks?

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