Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yahoo Computing Coop

Recently in Lockport, New York something strange was built. Reminiscent of barnyards, the newest building by Yahoo is not really for chickens but in fact is a data center. Yahoo plans to change the game when it comes to designs of data centers with their new coop design that is very environmentally friendly while at the same time saving themselves some big bucks.

Huge and metallic, the data center looms over the fields in Lockport, but for once the presence of a huge data center doesn't mean a drain on power or tons of money spent to keep it running. The Yahoo Computing Coop is built similarly to a chicken coop, hence its name, with slatted walls that take advantage of the year-round cool weather in Lockport. The cool air flows through the open-air data center and cools the servers without the presence of a chiller for cold water cooling. This design eliminates one of the most costly and energy-intensive factors of a data center.

To power the center the Yahoo Computing Coop doesn't rely on the usual method of coal-burning electricity but instead relies on the local hydroelectric power of Niagara Falls. While it costs a bit more for Yahoo initially, using hydroelectric power is an environmentally friendly concept that should pay off in the long run. Yahoo isn't doing it all for the environment, however. By using only 10 percent of its power for cooling Yahoo can expect to cut its electricity bills dramatically.

The Yahoo Computing coop consists of three data center halls connected to a central operations center with two more halls being built. When the two additional halls are finished, the center will have 36,000 square feet of space, enough to house 50,000 servers. Yahoo hopes to eventually house up to 100,000 servers at its Coop with the addition of more halls.

It seems like no wrong can be done with this data center. It is green, efficient, cost effective, and is also opening up close to 125 jobs for the area. While Yahoo scrambles to patent its design, similar centers are being built by Hewlett Packard and Google. The Yahoo Computing Coop will run applications like Yahoo Mail and Flickr and will hopefully start a new trend in green server housing.
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