Google has opened the kimono a little bit on its data centre design since Facebook launched its open-source data centre project a couple months ago.
First, there was an unprecedented video showing how Google handles security at its data centres.
Now, the company has a new video showing how it’s using sea water to cool its new data centre in Hamina, Finland. The water is sucked in through granite tunnels — the site used to be a paper mill, so the tunnels were already there. Google says it used a tiny submarine to make sure the tunnels weren’t blocked.
Then it’s pumped through the data centre in pipes, and run into exchangers that dissipate the heat from servers. Then it’s mixed back with cooler water and put back into the sea.
There’s no air conditioning or other cooling system.
This is a simple money-saver. Typically, energy is the biggest expense at a big data centre — it costs far more than the building and the hardware and wiring in it — and historically air conditioning was a big part of that bill. Facebook’s new data centre in Oregon uses air cooling, but this is the first one we’ve heard of that’s cooled with ocean water.
Here’s the video: