Apple brings the green data center into the mainstream

I guess you know that green data centers have truly come of age when the Today Show decides to do a spot highlighting how Apple is using solar power to manage its energy footprint at its Maiden, NC data center. The piece was a sign of how important greening your data center can become from a PR perspective and after early criticism of Apple, the company has gone full throttle into incorporating clean energy into its brand (earlier this week it launched it’s “better” campaign highlighting its sustainability commitments).

In the Today Show piece we did see Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives and former head of the EPA, walk down a hot aisle in Apple’s NC data center. She reports a temperature of 103 degrees in the data center, which is on the high end of what you’d expect a hot aisle to be at. Some server equipment is rated as high as 113 degrees but most data center operators are hesitant to run the equipment that hot. Still, Apple is clearly proof that one IT giant feels comfortable pushing its hot aisles pretty hot in order to bring down energy consumption associated with cooling. One of the benefits of Apple seeking the national spotlight for its clean power initiatives is that it may well encourage other IT companies to model the tech leader’s behavior.

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Adam Lesser

Analyst Gigaom Research

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