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If you want to make a green data center omelet...

…you’ll have to break a few eggs. The road to an environmentally friendly data center can be a bumpy one, which is not surprising when the path less traveled has innovative technologies and practices that haven’t been, ahem, road-tested.

Break a few eggsPhoto by Marcelo Braga, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Some, like the Emerson data center, have had trouble with data center management and asset availability in the face of strict, energy efficient power utilization guidelines. On the free cooling side, an incident at Facebook’s Prineville, Ore., shut down the data center when a control system program error brought condensation onto the servers and shorted out power supplies. Then there are the problems you might not see coming, like IBM’s Poughkeepsie Green Data Center, which discovered some capacity issues well into its existence. For every failure there is success, and both provide lessons for a more energy efficient data center.

Events like the Green Technologies Conference are tackling nagging problems — like overheating — for green data centers. There are other tips and tricks compiled by certification groups like the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Grid to help reduce carbon footprints without sacrificing cooling and energy efficiency. Heck, even some of the big boys like Google and Facebook have put their designs and best practices out there for everyone to see. Though there can be a price to pay for innovation, it’s good to know you don’t have to go it alone when going green.

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