Green

SynapSense gets $7M to make data centers more energy efficient

SynapSense, a Folsom, Calif. company that uses wireless sensors to track thermal, pressure and humidity conditions in corporate data centers, has tacked $7 million onto its second round of financing.

Its customers include the New York Stock Exchange and Verizon, among others.

Data centers are where companies store their servers and other networking and power gear. As the recession pinches capital budgets, companies are looking to get more out of the data center capacity they already have. SynapSense’s combination of sensor technology and applications that interpret and map the data allows companies to pinpoint where and how energy (and money) can be saved. This blend of functionality and visibility is actually unique in the energy management space for now, and has drawn SynapSense considerable buzz.

The system is a good first step for any company looking to monitor and fine-tune their data center operations, says SynapSense chief executive Peter Van Deventer. “Before using our systems, most companies told us they were just running blind.” For example, the system detects how much energy is diverted to logistics like lighting and cooling as opposed to IT operations, and makes recommendations for how to achieve a more desirable ratio. Van Deventer says centers using SynapSense have seen energy reductions upwards of 30 percent.

Notably, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, the venture arm of the large European company Robert Bosch, has joined the investor group backing the company, which includes existing investors Emerald Technology Ventures, Sequoia Capital, American River Ventures, Nth Power and DFJ Frontier.

The company says it will use the financing to expand its wireless monitoring products beyond data centers and grow its presence in all global markets. It has raised a total of $20 million since 2006. So far, SynapSense has actually benefited from the economic downturn. “Every enterprise is deferring capital expenditures and is being forced to make due and optimize what they have,” Van Deventer says. “A lot of new data center builds are being put on hold.”

He said in a statement that the company’s customers already include the “world’s leading stock exchange,” America’s “largest mobile phone operator,” and the “world’s busiest social networking site,” but did not mention their actual names, presumably for confidentiality reasons. It’s a bit silly, because everyone knows he means the New York Stock Exchange, Verizon and Facebook, if you take him literally — though it’s not altogether surprising, considering how secretive companies generally are about their data centers.

SynapSense is a recipient of the United States Department of Energy 2008 Energy Innovator Award.

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