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New Yahoo! datacenter borrows chicken coop technology

This week DataCenterKnowledge.com is running a great article on a Yahoo!’s new datacenter design, cleverly called the Yahoo! Computing Coop. I say “cleverly called” because the Yahoo! team really did borrow design ideas from the way Tyson Foods builds its chicken coops

“Tyson Foods has done research involving facilities with the heat source in the center of the facility, looking at how to evacuate the hot air,” said Noteboom. “We applied a lot of similar thought to our data center.”

The resulting datacenter has a PUE of 1.1, which means that just about all of the energy going into the facility is going to the computers themselves. How do they do it?

The Yahoo Computing Coops are prefabricated metal structures measuring about 120 feet long by 60 feet wide. Each of the three coops has louvers built into the side  to allow cool air to enter the computing area. The air then flows through two rows of cabinets and into a contained center hot aisle, which has a chimney on top. The chimney directs the waste heat into the top of the facility, where it can either be recirculated or vented through the cupola.

That design, along with putting the Coops in Buffalo where they get free cooling for all but roughly 9 days each year, is saving them real money

“We are at less than 1 percent of our (energy) cost to cool,” he said. “For every dollar we’re spending, we’re spending one cent to cool.” That’s down from more than 50 percent in some earlier data center designs used by Yahoo.

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