Green-ITInnovation

Mauritius’ Sea Water Cooled Data Centre: Not Just a Drop in the Ocean?

The island country of Mauritius is using sea water cooling in its bid to become a major outsourced data-centre player

Mauritius, the island nation in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa, will next year be running the world’s first sea water air conditioned (SWAC) data centre – and hopes to use it to become a world player.

Drawing cold sea water from nearly 2000 metres down to cool its heat exchanges, the 102 hectare, tier 4 data centre will come on-stream from December 2010. It will also use renewable electricity, generated from from fuel based on sugar cane, and promises 30 to 40 percent cost savings over conventional data centres.

Using deep sea pipes located off the west coast of the island, Mauritius will pump in a massively sustainable natural resource to hit the main cost ‘pain point’ in all modern data centres, namely cooling.

Mauritius is using Makai Ocean Engineering as a partner to build the sea water cooling system. Makai has been working on the technology for some time, and has several projects, but Mauritius will apparently be the first data centre to use it.

Better connectivity

“We have tuned up an ecosystem of IT resources and services to be able to serve companies on a global basis,” said the Hon. Mohammed Asraf Ally Dulull, Minister of Information & Communication Technology last week. He delivered the keynote at a summit designed to promote the eco-park which will house the data centre.

“Should Mauritius be the data centre for Africa?” asked the minister. “Of course there are bandwidth considerations, but we have provisioned to plug into more undersea cables and improve this.”

Sustainable data resources are of limited worth if the world is not able to connect to them, so it is no surprise to find that Mauritius is urgently upping its international links to more than one fibre optic under-sea cable.

Connecting to both the Indian subcontinent and African coastal cables will be important not only from a speed perspective, but also to provide backup if a connection is lost.

As new rich-media Internet services including video continue to grow alongside ecommerce and proliferating global broadband penetration, the carbon footprint left by our demand for data is coming to the fore.

Power typically makes up from 40 to 60 percent of the cost of running a data silo of reasonable size, and its efficiency is measured by Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) – the ratio of power consumed by the centre, to power used in the IT kit..

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