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With 50 watts of cooling required for each 100 watts of server capacity, demand for data centre cooling equipment will rise by more than 60 per cent in the next five years.

Lux Research describes it as the 'golden age' of data centre growth, and while the United States is still the leader in large co-location data centre development, a robust emerging market exists in 12 high-growth regions, with Germany, Turkey and China growing the fastest.

Cooling equipment, which is already valued at $1 billion per year globally, will grow in lockstep with the growth of data centres – rising over 60 per cent in the next five years.

Lux research analyst and lead author of the report Blowing Hot Air - Uncovering Opportunities to Cool the World's Data Centres, Alex Herceg, said globally data centres already use equipment to cool about 50 GW of electricity

He said the next few years are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build the infrastructure that will power the Internet of Things.

"The mega-sized data centres have remarkable energy and cooling requirements, and technologies are competing to supply the robust cooling infrastructure necessary to support these facilities at the lowest total cost of operation,” Herceg said.

Lux Research analysts studied 12 established and emerging cooling technologies  to evaluate which are best poised to serve the growing mega-size data centre market, and compared them in their energy and water input requirements.

The report found evaporative cooling is best for large-scale centres.

"Evaporative cooling has emerged as the dominant cooling method for data centres greater than 1MW, with a 10-year total cost of ownership (TCO) of $575/kW," he said.
 
Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) is best for smaller data centres. In Lux's TCO analysis, CRAC-Air-cooled technology emerged the best for smaller data centres with TCO ranging between $5,000 and $15,000 for a server capacity of 150 kW/m2, depending on the cost of electricity.

Water- and glycol-based  cooling technology came second and third, respectively.

"Climate is no longer king," Herceg said. "In the past, data centres were located in cool places, such as Google’s Finland site. However, benchmark guidelines for temperatures and relative humidity have risen, and the leading metrics to determine locations are now power usage effectiveness (PUE) and TCO."

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