Microsoft published a white paper, "A Holistic Approach to Energy Efficiency in Datacenters," that details the background and strategy behind the efforts to design servers and datacenters as a holistic, integrated system. "As we like to say here at Microsoft, "the datacenter is the server!" We hope that by sharing our approach to energy efficiency in our datacenters we can be a part of global efforts to improve energy efficiency in datacenter industry around the world," said Dileep Bhandarkar.
Microsoft has found that air cooling is sufficient for datacenters in some climates. Evaporative coolers (also known as "swamp coolers") are necessary when temperatures go above 90 to 95 degrees Farenheit, according to paper. While adding secondary cooling with air or water-cooled chillers does raise operational costs, their infrequent use reduces overall energy consumption.
"Microsoft views its future datacenters as driving a paradigm shift away from traditional monolithic raised floor mega datacenters. Using modular pre-manufactured components yields improvements in cost and schedule. The modular approach reduces initial capital investment and allows you to scale capacity with business demand in a timely manner."