Two of the largest data centers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are run by HP. They were initially built by EDS and acquired by HP in the late 2000s.

With Tulsa County having the highest population density in Oklahoma, Tulsa data centers are learning to use renewable resources to address problems.

The facilities are run entirely with hydroelectricity and wind power. To offset the density of server racks and hardware, EDS used some unconventional methods to cool the systems and ensure peak availability.


Mindo and Cherokee

The Tulsa data centers, named Mingo and Cherokee, are equipped with cooling systems and strategies that are as unconventional as they are effective.

When server racks, cabinets, and blades are in a confined space, they require innovative cooling strategies to ensure they can run at peak capacity. The most noticeable strategy in the server room is that the data center racks, walls, floors, and ceilings are all painted off-white, unlike the traditional grey racking typical of data centers.

This color requires less lighting than in rooms with darker racking, and lighting is also placed strategically and only where absolutely required.

Water Tank Cooling

An 800,000-gallon water tank also provides cooling through pipes under the raised flooring. Before the water reaches the pipes, though, the water is air-cooled with a misting process through micro-ceramic tiles, which takes the water temperature down several degrees before cycling under the server floors.

The water cooling system can keep the servers cooled for eight hours at a time without having to resort to the chiller system. There is no wasted water, as it cycles across the data center's roof before dropping through an air conditioning unit and into the misting system.

The data centers are equipped with reflective roofing, which doesn’t absorb heat. The HP Tulsa facilities were engineered and built to withstand 300 miles per hour winds or a Force Five Tornado. Tulsa also benefits from telecommunications lines run through an abandoned oil pipeline and has lower energy costs than most regions in the United States.

Tulsa Connect is another data center operator in the area which also uses both water and air cooling systems to relieve cramped equipment in their three data centers. They have been operating data centers in Tulsa since 1996.

The Bottom Line

Tulsa data centers like HP’s facilities and Tulsa Connect demonstrate the effective use of non-traditional cooling methods. They show how the use of systems like water cooling, efficient rack layout, and even the limited use of lighting can make data centers more efficient, leveraging renewable resources. 

Does your data center facility use renewable resources like the Tulsa data center facilities? Please share your thoughts in the section for Comments below. 

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