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How Do You Cool Your Data Center / Server Room?

Displaying poll results.
No cooling
  1292 votes / 14%
Fans
  754 votes / 8%
Normal air conditioning
  3395 votes / 37%
Air-cooled chillers
  493 votes / 5%
Water/Liquid cooled-chillers
  747 votes / 8%
Direct water cooling
  139 votes / 1%
Other crazy/expensive solution
  268 votes / 2%
I am responsible for the current heat wave
  2003 votes / 22%
9091 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How Do You Cool Your Data Center / Server Room?

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  • Water cooling. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Friday July 06, 2012 @12:52PM (#40565639)
    But just for green points, the water heated by my server room is then used to help heat the hot water for the building.
    Green and awesome.
    • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Friday July 06, 2012 @12:59PM (#40565713)
      The heat from my building's server room is dumped outside and then we burn propane to heat the rest of the office. But I'd consider that "greener" than your server room, because plants use CO2.
      • You wish. You're releasing fossil CO2 when you burn the propane, GP's replacing fossil fuels with waste heat in his setup.

        • Re:Water cooling. (Score:4, Informative)

          by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Friday July 06, 2012 @02:07PM (#40566783)
          Let's try this again.

          GP said his server room is "green". I say MY office is "greener" because it releases more CO2. What does the green parts of plants use (other than Brawndo)? CO2. Unless I really have had too much beer since biology class.

          Equating low CO2 emissions to the color green annoys me. Hybrid cars with a little green leaf on the back annoy me. I'd like a sticker for my CO2 belching SUV that shows a big green tree surrounded by a bunch of people choking to death.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            OK, so your setup is more green, blue-green, red, and brown.

            Some respect for the non-chlorophyll B photosynthesizers please!
            (cyanobacteria, rhodophyta, phaeophytes, dinoflagellates).

          • by Ksevio (865461)
            It's green because it doesn't have a large impact on the Earth's ecosystem/climate which causes all the plants to shrivel up and turn brown
            • by Anonymous Coward

              Actually plants would be thriving if even MORE co2 was being dumped, which was the parent's point.

            • Re:Water cooling. (Score:4, Informative)

              by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @04:05AM (#40580777)
              Google Carboniferous period. CO2 levels were over 2x what they are now, Plants thrived, the planet was much greener
          • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday July 06, 2012 @05:44PM (#40569875) Homepage

            Mine is a brown system, we use the heat to evaporate salt water, we then take the salt left over and use it to salt the earth all over town. Damn growing plants, I'll show them who is boss..

            • I replaced the water in my water cooling system with the blood of endangered species, had to add quite some heparan sulfate. But it was worth the cost, my old Pentium 4 based servers now only run at 89.9C instead of their usual 90C.
            • What would you call it if you piss on the processors when they get too hot. I know the steam cloud is gross as hell since my buddy (yes my buddy, it isn't a euphemism for 'me'), pissed on the hot rocks in the sauna at a sports club when we were teenagers. The whole fucking change room cleared out right fucking quick when that cloud came bellowing out of the sauna room. We were afraid to show our faces there for a few months. I don't think they ever let him back in without 'adult' supervision.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Let's try this again. GP said his server room is "green". I say MY office is "greener" because it releases more CO2. What does the green parts of plants use (other than Brawndo)? CO2. Unless I really have had too much beer since biology class. Equating low CO2 emissions to the color green annoys me. Hybrid cars with a little green leaf on the back annoy me. I'd like a sticker for my CO2 belching SUV that shows a big green tree surrounded by a bunch of people choking to death.

            Stop being a jerk and write a preg_replace for your brain to find "green" and replace with "ecologically friendly", and get a girlfriend to hug you and then not give you sex til you grow up and act responsibly. What?! Too much to ask? Seemed as reasonable to me as his rant.

          • Wow! I assumed your original post was a joke!

            But you're not joking are you? You actually believe that the colour green should be reserved in all symbolic references to plants (and I assume you also believe that other other photosynthesising life forms are also green?)

            Anyway, let me break it down for you. The colour green has been associated with nature in all its forms for centuries. This is not a modern phenomena. Calling something green that is friendly to the entire ecosystem is not some sort of contradiction in terms.

            I'd like a sticker for my CO2 belching SUV that shows a big green tree surrounded by a bunch of people choking to death.

            *sigh* Not this one again. I doubt I'm going to convince you, but just in case someone thick is reading. It is a myth to believe that higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth and food production. [newscientist.com]

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Not really. It's not a myth to believe that, as even the article you linked reports "it is well established that higher CO2 levels can have a fertilising effect on many plants, boosting growth by as much as a third." Thick indeed.

            • Well, even if you think the color green should be associated to those serial plant killers that we call animals... No, life will adapt to our emissions in no time (for life's timeframe), an it always thrives on hight CO2 environments, it is low CO2 times that are bad. Diversity will fall in the begining, but that isn't a first time thing, it always recovers.

              The transformations we are imposing in our planet are bad just for some of the species that currently live here... That includes us, of course.

          • by LourensV (856614)

            Actually, in nature most plants are limited by other factors than CO2 availability, like the temperature, and amount of sunlight, water, nitrogen and phosphorus they can get. Putting more CO2 into the atmosphere is not going to do them much good. Adding CO2 mainly helps in greenhouses and other agricultural settings, where the glass keeps the temperature up, enough water is made available, and fertilisers take care of the nutrient requirements.

            Of course, agricultural plants are green too so your claim is no

            • "Actually, in nature most plants are limited by other factors than CO2 availability"

              Yes. Which means those "most plants" would get a substituted with others more capable to take advantage of the risen CO2 levels (i.e. C4). But still a greener world, as the grandparent stated.

          • by tbird81 (946205)

            Haven't you heard? CO2 is the new dihydrogen monoxide.

            It's a colourless gas, poisonous in high concentration, which causes our blood to become acidic! It is the byproduct of most industrial processes, farming, and internal combustion engines. The scary thing about it is that it that plants actually absorb this gas, incorporating it into its sugars, which humans and other animals then consume.

            The only solution is to have a tax on this substance. Sure, some politicians will skim off the top, sure it'll be und

      • by rgbrenner (317308)

        Wait.. what does the heat have to do with CO2?

        You don't think your computers take in oxygen and breathe out CO2? do you?

        • Yes they do (in the majority case). Think about the extended phenotype.
        • Well, computers do take in oxygen (and CO2) and "breathe" out CO2 (and oxygen)...

        • Did you actually read what he said? He said they blow the heat outside and use propane to heat the office instead, releasing THAT CO2 outside as well.

          • by rgbrenner (317308)

            What has become of slashdot?! First you'll demand I read the comment before replying, and next you'll be saying I should read the summary, or worse, the article!

  • by Antipater (2053064) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:01PM (#40565727)
    We have our interns stand nearby and fan them with palm fronds.
  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday July 06, 2012 @01:08PM (#40565823) Journal

    Solar water heating tubes on the roof--that's an evacuated glass tube with a heat pipe running up hill to a heat exchanger embedded into a hot water loop.

    Water-ammonia-hydrogen absorption refrigerator. The hot water loop loops down, runs into a water block that heats up the base reservoir of ammonia-water. This is in a small attic room with a weather sealed door and two fans (intake and exhaust). If the absorption refrigerator experiences a breach, the ammonia is vented to the atmosphere (it's poisonous, but harmless--ammonia is produced as part of the biological process, and is consumed by yeast and other microbes). Doesn't normally breach--the unit is sealed and needs zero maintenance ever.

    The initial cooling loop ventilates heat into the room. After that, the cooled expanded ammonia travels through a condenser where it condenses into liquid ammonia at ridiculously low temperatures. The condenser itself is inside an oil-filled block which itself extends cooling fins into a run of duct work. The actual compartment with the condenser is separate, so if the condenser and housing crack it just splatters oil and evaporates ammonia into the outside atmosphere rather than into building duct work. Condensed ammonia goes back into the base unit where it's boiled again to recirculate.

    The fans are run by compressed air. The air is compressed by sterling engine. Operating temperature is lower than the breakdown temperature of teflon seals, and so alpha sterling engine layout with hot teflon seals is used. No fluid lubrication required, so absolutely no maintenance. Compressed air also runs pumps that drive the hot loop and a cold loop that exchanges the sterling engine's heat with a ground tapped sink. A backup compressor is physically in another room and driven by electricity in case of failure of sterling engine. This is to avoid sparks in the event of a critical breach of the absorption refrigerator, instead allowing volatile hydrogen and ammonia to vent to atmosphere.

    Hot loop is supplemented by a box of slate and oil to store excess heat collected during daylight hours for use at night. Hot loop is backed up by a separate, exchanger coupled loop that passes hot working fluid through a hot water exchanger coupled to a boiler to provide heat from gas via the building's existing hot water system. In the winter, system is bled during the day to provide building heat, and waste heat from heating turbine is used at night to supplement system if working temperature drops critically from lack of stored heat energy.

    Impressed?

    • Pics or it didn't happen.

      • I'm a low sci-fi writer with perpetual writer's block. I can create universes and technology and civilizations; I can't create conflict and actual story. That said, the machine does work and is implemented in most large-scale industrial settings where a LOT of waste heat is present (large factories, places that use a Capstone turbine to generate heat/electricity also tend to vent their waste heat into an absorption refrigerator if they need a LOT of refrigeration...). Small scale uses include RVs that ru

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Why worry about writing a story that hasn't already been done? Just write a story. Let it stand on it's own merit, don't try to compare it to all the other works out there. If all you can do is make universes and no story, make an rpg world and let others tell the story. Everything has it's place, man.

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          I'm a low sci-fi writer with perpetual writer's block. I can create universes and technology and civilizations; I can't create conflict and actual story.

          Sounds like Hidden Empire I just finished reading (by Kevin J. Anderson). I finished it because the universe was so interesting and mostly complete (unlike some where there are gaping holes in history/present that make is feel fake). And the characters were good. But I didn't like the writing style or the story. It was both interesting and a painful read at the same time. There are plenty of successful writers who sucked in some respect or another.

          • This is why I write nothing. The story would be boring. I like worldbuilding because I like engineering and don't like marketing.
            • by AK Marc (707885)
              They trick to a popular story is a bad plot. Tell an overly simple story, but tell it well. Do that, and you'll beat most of the books I've read recently. They are all simple stories told poorly, or often complicated stories told not too poorly. But it's so much harder to tell a complicated story. Books like Twilight and Hunger Games are very popular, but are simple and slow. Just pick a single story to tell that interests you and write it. Leave the details and minutia to your world. Keep the story
              • I dunno. Elantris, Mistborn, and The Way of Kings don't seem to have bad plots. The Gap Cycle didn't seem to have a bad plot. You may have a point with The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Something Secret This Way Comes possibly as well. Mind you I LIKE The Gap Cycle and I like Sanderson's work, with multiple threads in the story. Brute force LOTR-style child's play bores me ... Lord of the Rings was mediocre at best, so boring.
                • by AK Marc (707885)
                  Well, then we are talking about separate things. You are talking about writing a story that you would like to read. I'm talking about a story that others would like to read. LotR was mediocre, but it's popular. The simple good vs evil story is simple enough that anyone can get it, and the style helps pull in the reader and root for a side, unlike so many movies now (the mainstream indy films) where the movie is made to make a "good" movie, not to make an enjoyable one. Turning a low art into a high art
        • by Frazbin (919306)
          Troll here: Quit your job as a sci-fi writer who doesn't write stories-- you'd make a great engineer who doesn't build things. Your user number is lower than mine. You are old. The time for talk is over, go make something.
  • Nice assumption that everyone on Slashdot has and/or is responsible for making such decisions!
    • Yeah, I chose no cooling because no server room.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        Yeah, I chose no cooling because no server room.

        Wot? That's like saying you have no beer tap, or no record player. Of course you have a server room - if nothing else, it's the room your NAT router (which likely is both a DHCP server, forwarding name server and web server) is in.

        • You should go out more often.
          If you stretch your imagination to consider my 50 dollar router as a "server" and my living room as a "server room"... damn!

    • As I see it, the poll assumes that everybody reading it is working and that there's a data center or server room at work. I'm retired, now, and although there's a home LAN I don't have any servers set up and it doesn't feel right to call my home a data center. Probably I'll end up selecting regular AC, because that's what we've got here.

      That being said, If I were still working, I'd have selected whatever cooling was used at work, even if I weren't involved in running it.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      My office's server room is in a closet. Contains a single server plus stuff like my Internet connection (fibre link), a modem (receives fax), and switch (internal LAN). Oh and the phone switch box is mounted in there, too. All I need for a two-person company.

      It has passive cooling. Floor of the door has a gap, the false ceiling at the top removed, so chimney effect. More than enough cooling.

      Not everyone works at some kind of megacorp!

    • My servers are cooled by magic!

  • Small server room, 2 racks, 2 AC units, just for redundancy. One could do the job easily.

    Home server uses bleeding edge throttled hot-rack setup, mostly passive cooling ;-) I had it before Facebook did actually :D

  • I open the window.

  • I use squirrels.
    It is crazy and expensive (you wouldn't believe how much a squirrel can eat), but it sure gets the job done.

    • Make a squirrel push your gas
      Make a squirrel push your gas
      Make a squirrel push your gas
      And when you're done
      Just throw him in the grass! YEAH! [youtube.com]

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I use squirrels.
      It is crazy and expensive (you wouldn't believe how much a squirrel can eat), but it sure gets the job done.

      I find the use of squirrels leads to communism.

      In Soviet Russia squirrel cools YOU!

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      And when everything else fails you can always eat the squirrels!

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday July 06, 2012 @03:24PM (#40568073)

    I have no idea how our servers are cooled - they're in "the cloud", so they could be cooling it with the souls of the damned for all I know.

    • With the drool of intelligence agencies.

    • by rvw (755107)

      I have no idea how our servers are cooled - they're in "the cloud", so they could be cooling it with the souls of the damned for all I know.

      Isn't that obvious? "In the cloud" means "air cooled"!

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "I have no idea how our servers are cooled - they're in "the cloud""

      My guess is water vapor :-)

  • I don't have a server room, you insensitive clod!

  • I need that heat to keep the house warm. In winter I power up the spare systems and run disk tests. In a "heat wave" I turn off a few monitors. :)

  • Of course calling it "normal air conditioning" is a bit of a stretch when you have 4 times as many coolers as you need so that and 3 can fail and nobody would notice.

  • A mouse running on a spinning wheel connected to fan blades.
  • What's a "server room"?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What's a "server room"?

      It's where the serving staff go to change into their uniforms, eat, clock in and out, and generally keep out of site of the upper class when they are not working - an serving their betters.

      Cooling? To waste such things on the service class is just outlandish and vulgar.

      Now if you'll excuse me sir, it is somewhat inappropriate for me to have this discussion with you. I suggest that if you have further questions to ask the butler or my valet.

      Good day.

  • Beer. Cold beer!
  • Effective, but we do go through ops guys pretty fast...

  • Three of the options are (more or less) the same answer. "Normal air conditioning" would rely on either a air/liquid or air/air heat exchanger to "chill" the refrigerant so it can return to a liquid and start the process over again. That would make the two options after normal AC heat exchanger related and not a holistic answer to the question, as those are parts of a HVAC system. Not sure if the pollster (or the respondents so far) has much knowledge of refrigeration as this has to be one of the most poorl
  • Delivered by sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @01:41AM (#40573543)

    Here in England it's summertime. We reached a high of 14C yesterday in my particular part of the country. That was on a day when some places received the average July rainfall for the whole month, in a single day. If we need to cool our computers all we need to do here is to open a window.

    Summer in England: the rain gets warmer.

  • by HarryatRock (1494393) <harry.rutherford@btinternet.com> on Saturday July 07, 2012 @04:32AM (#40574175) Journal

    I remember when the Harrier was in flight test, there was a 19" rack mount mini-computer in a Nissen hut (corrugated iron) which needed a drastic environmental control soliution. A copper pipe was threaded through the cabinet with a funnel at the top and a thermos flask at the bottom. When it was hot, we poured liquid nitrogen through the pipe, but when it was cold we used hot water. Great skill was needed to keep within the safe working temperature range. Of course this was before health and safety made such solutions illegal.

  • Does a raised tile floor with strategically placed perforated panels count as "normal" air conditioning?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They're cool!

  • Whatever the spiders want.
  • You insensitive clod, we've had a month's rain in 24 hours.
  • Water, which cools the my data center, being my brain. OK, it actually cools my blood which does most of the cooling of my brain. Of course my blood would then be consider the Liquid Chilled-Cooler. Besides water, there is a whole variety of other liquid cooled chillers. All my coolers are "green". Except for the water, they derive from biomass, such as grains, sugar and other green fuels.
  • When it gets too hot I hope the garage door.
  • Considering my "server room" consists of a old TVIO box with a pico-SAM9G45 as its guts and a couple TB drives running as a NAS and in house FTP server for my retro computers its being cooled by whatever we are. If its summer its the AC, if its winter then its not really being cooled by anything but the stock 60mm fan.

    That is if it ever kicks in, its temperature sensitive, and considering the only heat sources are the drives bolted to the case and the very small power supply from the TVIO which is put under

  • No fucking clue. Ask Amazon.

Philogyny recapitulates erogeny; erogeny recapitulates philogyny.

 



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