Facebook has taken a unique position in the data center industry by being completely open and transparent about their efforts to achieve optimum efficiency in their facilities, even establishing the Open Compute Project, where partners share best practices.
Compared to many other players who build utility-scale data centers, Facebook not only talks about efficiency but runs established this collaborative effort with other partners to publish actual designs. This includes everything from data center schematics to IT equipment specifications.
Examples include how to design a data center that uses outside air with supplemental evaporative cooling, to "stripped down" servers that optimize airflow and can run at inlet temperatures of 85 degrees.
Bloomberg Businessweek has a nice summary of Facebook's project, with a few nuggets about how the big IT OEMs like Dell, HP, and Cisco are responding in the marketplace. (Disregard the bit about power overheads, which are somewhat unclear but imply that traditional data centers have a PUE of 3 or 4!)
We've known for some time that Google and other large server buyers spec their own equipment, but it appears that more and more they are bypassing the OEMs and having their equipment made by companies in Asia. The latest industry sales statistics show both HP and Dell losing a few points of server market share, with the "other" category, comprised of these contract manufacturers, gaining.
Dell and HP have both launched counterattacks - Dell with the approach of building to spec for large customers, and HP with their "Moonshot" project which will improve energy efficiency across their entire server product line.
So this is once again a story of the big players leading the way on energy efficiency, with kudos to Facebook for their open approach. I think it still leaves a large opportunity for utilities to promote energy efficiency to the enterprise market, and perhaps even more so for the server room and localized data center tiers, even for IT equipment measures.