As the Press Democrat explains,
Data center cooling designers at Napa-based heating and air-conditioning contractor Bell Products have achieved greater energy efficiency than anticipated in a pilot system for Internet service provider Sonic.net in Santa Rosa and plan to take the innovation to other data center operators. ...Bell’s Core4 division achieved 58 percent to 68 percent efficiency while keeping Sonic’s server room at an optimum computing climate of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 percent relative humidity.
As Dane Jasper of Sonic.Net blogs, "Our 2008 total utility costs are projected to come in very near 2006 levels, despite huge growth of equipment in the datacenter."
As anyone in the data center space knows, it isn't about available floor space, it's all about the power costs -- both the power to run all the hardware that generates a lot of heat and the energy required to keep the data center cool. It used to be about the space when every box was at least 12U. Now its the power cost. Just ask Atlantic.Net who saw Progress Energy raise rates late last year over 30%! I'm sure that this will be a topic for discussion this year.