Facebook, eBay win awards for data center efficiency

Facebook and eBay (s ebay) are among the winners of this year’s Green Enterprise IT Awards, which the Uptime Institute doles out for advancements in the world of energy-efficient data centers.
Dell (s dell) and eBay took home the award for “Modular Data Center Deployment” for its Project Mercury data center in downtown Phoenix. That data center, which I profiled earlier this month, makes use of standardized racks of gear on the floor and of high-powered but high-efficiency data center modules on the roof. It currently has two Dell modules and two HP (s hpq) units in place, but is looking to add seven more as its computing needs ramp up. Because they’re so efficient, the entire facility’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, which gauges the percentage of power used for tasks other than computing, falls with each new module.
Facebook, for its part, won the award for “Audacious Idea,” a category that didn’t even have another finalist, for its Open Compute Project. That’s probably rightly so. The project began with Facebook open sourcing its designs for both servers and entire data centers, and now features an industry-led foundation aimed at bringing some of these highly efficient principles and practices into mainstream enterprises.
The awards will be presented on May 14 during a session and the Uptime Institute Symposium in Santa Clara, Calif.
There’s still a long way left to go in 2012, but there are already some innovative data center designs underway that could result in awards at next year’s event. EBay has plans to outdo Project Mercury with a modular data in Salt Lake City called Project Quicksilver. Facebook is building a presumably green facility in Sweden, in the same region where Google (s goog) takes advantage of seawater to cool its Finnish data center. And speaking of Google, it has built a system in its Douglas County, Ga., data center that’s cooled in part by wastewater from nearby towns.