Cloud Factories -

November 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

NYTimes Sept 22, 2012

NYTimes ran a featured series on “The Cloud Factories” a year ago. It cited an interesting example - how a large Facebook data center in Santa Clara, California was burning so much energy that the company needed to buy all of the local Walgreens' stock of portable fans to stop the center from melting. Where are we now? Any technology/industry changes to solving this problem? What steps can be taken to eliminate this problem in the future?

Tags: Cloud, energy, Facebook, data center, NY Times, Walgreens

Re: Cloud Factories -

January 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM
One step would be to replace disk drives with solid state devices, which use less energy both for power and for cooling. Another step would be to engineer (or re-engineer) the buildings in order to recover the heat generated and reuse it e.g. for offices. This method is only practical if the offices are nearby to minimize heat loss in transmission, though it makes the case for smaller, distributed, connected, and co-located offices and data centers.

But the most important step is the most basic of one of them all, which is to employ more energy and environmentally efficient computing methods at each stage of the business process.

These are not new methods. Unfortunately many companies are reluctant to employ them because the "downstream" effects of energy waste including pollution (and public health, and loss of greenspace for power generation and distribution), and global warming, do not show up as balance-sheet costs. Only what companies pay for power show up as costs that they are then incentivized to reduce. Only when governments, as the "owners" of the environment, are willing to fairly assign environment impact costs, will companies understandably have an added inducement to employ more energy efficient practices like in their data centers.