Yahoo has opened a new data center that uses a combination of innovative design and the naturally cool climate near Niagara Falls to cut energy consumption by 40% in comparison to conventional data centers.
Yahoo opened the center Monday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Chief Executive Carol Bartz, New York Gov. David Paterson and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The facility was built with the help of a $9.9 million Department of Energy grant to encourage companies to implement green IT.
Yahoo calls its energy-efficient design the "Computing Coop." The Lockport, N.Y., facility runs IT equipment in long, narrow halls that are angled in the direction of local winds in order to take advantage of the natural airflow of the environment. The halls resemble chick coops, hence the design name.
The design eliminates the need to for using equipment to circulate water through the data center to cool the computer gear. Less than one percent of the building's total energy consumption is used to cool the facility, according to Yahoo.
Overall, the facility uses at least 40% less energy than a conventional data center and 95% less water. The energy saved is equal to the amount of power used by more than 9,000 New York state households annually. The amount of water saved in a year could provide drinking water for 200,000 people for a lifetime.
The 155,000-square-foot facility runs on hydroelectric power from the local utility, New York Power Authority. Yahoo supported up to 500 jobs during the construction phase and will employ up to 125 people at the data center.
Besides the date center, the facility includes an operations center that monitors Yahoo's infrastructure for consistent uptime. It also contains a 24-hour IT support center for Yahoo employees.
"At a time of sky-high unemployment, 125 new, high-tech, high-paying jobs is just what the doctor ordered," Schumer said in a statement.
Yahoo has several other data centers that are core to powering the network of sites that make up the web portal. The company is a leading implementer of Hadoop, open-source technology used to index searches and generate advertising related profiles of Internet users of its websites.
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