The information technology industry consumes as much energy and has roughly the same carbon footprint as the airline industry. Energy usage per compute server rack is growing from about 2 kilowatts (KW) per rack in 2000, to an estimated 30 KW per rack in 2010. Every dollar spent on power for IT equipment requires that another dollar be spent on cooling.

The University of California, San Diego's GreenLight project gets its name from its plan to connect scientists and their labs to more energy-efficient ‘green’ computer processing and storage systems, using photonics – light over optical fiber. UC San Diego scientists and engineers are building an instrument to test the energy efficiency of computing systems under real-world conditions.

The Sun Modular Datacenter will be deployed on the UC San Diego campus for the GreenLight project, offering full-scale processing and storage. To eliminate the need for air conditioning, each Sun MD's closed-loop water-cooling system uses built-in heat exchanges between equipment racks to channel air flow. This allows the unit to cool 25 kilowatts per rack, about five times the cooling capacity of typical datacenters.

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