Greening the Internet and Verari Systems’ “Data Center in a Box”

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of customers ( Gatti says 95 percent are outside the San Diego area) that include firms such as Akamai, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Petrobras, Harris, and Lockheed Martin.

Verari had its big customers in mind when it developed its data center in a box, which can house up to 1,400 servers in a trailer-sized box that can easily be shipped and set up outside a building. “Instead of building a new data center (structure) for $25 million, you can install one of our containers for about $5 million,” Gatti says. Verari has designed the container to be extremely energy efficient, which helps to save on operating costs as well.

To Larry Smarr, who has become a strong advocate for greening the Internet as director of Calit2, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, the concept makes a lot of sense. “Instead of cooling a big computer room, you’re cooling a much more confined space,” Smarr says. While Verari is among the first to develop the idea, Smarr says Sun Microsystems and others have developed a similar concept for a data center in a box. “To me, this is an exciting new technology—what you might call these modular machine rooms.”

In addition to winning cash rebates from San Diego Gas & Electric and other utilities under an energy credit incentive program, Verari’s Gatti says companies also benefit from lower utility costs. “We have customer benchmarks that show us [to be] 35 percent more energy efficient” than conventional IT equipment, Gatti told me.

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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