Well-managed companies are continuously searching for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing either efficiency or productivity. One area in which IT consulting can help is in the realm of power consumption. Many businesses spend a significant portion of their energy budget on cooling down their data center so that equipment can function at appropriate temperatures. Since overheated equipment can lead to damaged infrastructure and data loss, both considerable cost factors, it makes sense to invest considerable resources into maintaining cooling.
In many kinds of climates, however, it may be possible to cut cooling costs considerably by using strategies that have come to be called ‘free cooling’. These strategies make use of the conditions outside the data center, leveraging them to provide cooling inside the building. Certainly, it makes little sense to pay for an indoor air-conditioned environment in New York, Philadelphia, or Massachusetts during the winter. Instead, cold air from outside can be brought in at a fraction of the cost to provide the cooling that IT equipment needs.
At the current time, there are three major types of ‘free cooling’. The first is the most common, and involves using filters to bring outside air into the IT environment. Alternatively, heat exchangers can be used to effect a transfer of outdoor cooling power to the interior of the data center. A second type of environment-based cooling combines outside air with evaporative cooling technologies. The third type of ‘free cooling’ uses cooling towers through which water, glycol, or another cooling medium circulates, with the medium receiving chilling from environmental forces.