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3/13/2014
09:06 AM
Keith Dawson
Keith Dawson
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8 Datacenters For Cloud's Toughest Jobs

Each of these innovative datacenters represents the best in class for a design or operational factor. Google's employee sauna? That's just a bonus.
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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3/13/2014 | 11:51:21 AM
Footprint! What Footprint?

Some people rail about the carbon footprint of these huge data centers, but reading these descriptions it's clear that there's lots of innovative work being done on ambient cooling, methane-driven power cells, and other energy savers. The bigger point I'd make is that economies of scale of large data centers give them a lower carbon footprint per compute cycle than lots of smaller data centers. Imagine the collective footprints of all the individual personal computers in the world!

kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 2:15:21 PM
Re: Footprint! What Footprint?
Now there's a fine research project. Are there more PCs on individuals' (and employees') desks, or are there more servers in racks in data centers? How does the total power consumption compare?

I read one guesstimate a year or two back that data centers used 2% of the electricity generated in the US. For most other nations the figure would be lower than that.

Iceland may already be ahead of the US in percentage terms. They are ambitious to become the go-to place for locating data centers, and they generate 1/475th as much energy as the US for a population 1/961 as large. 100% of their generation is renewable, from geothermal and hydro.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 1:57:24 PM
Measuring that carbon footprint
I agree, Doug. The cartbon footprint of these modern, cloud data centers puts the enterprise data center to shame. One way of looking at it is that they tend to have a power unit efficiency of 1.1 vs. 2.0 for the enterprise. In the latter case, twice as much power is delivered to the data center as is actually used in computing. Plus think of all the trips to the Post Office that Facebook is eliminating. Think of all the trips to the store that Amazon.com is eliminating. Granted the delivery truck has to show up with the goods, but one truck making multiple stops in the neighborhood probably is more efficient than everyone traveling across town to the store. The N.Y. Times only scratched the surface of the impact of large data centers and came away knowing it didn't like them. I disagree.
kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 2:22:22 PM
Re: Measuring that carbon footprint
I was happy to read up on Apple's use of methane at their Maiden TN data center; didn't have space in the slideshow to go into all I learned, but most or all of the methane comes from local sources such as farms. That's a lot of a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide removed from the biosphere, and energy generated at no additional cost to the carbon footprint. Those Bliss fuel cells are impressive.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 2:27:23 PM
Re: Measuring that carbon footprint
Carolina pig farms and Delaware chicken farms would both be ready sources of methane. Don't know if the big backbone pipes of the Internet are there locally, but I'm sure extending the pipes would be preferrable to shovelling the #$%! long distance.
kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 2:37:37 PM
Re: Measuring that carbon footprint
Facebook already has a big presence in North Carolina. Chickens are big on the easern shore of Maryland & Virginia, and I don't know of any data centers there at all. Fiber? They could run it along the world's 25th longest bridge-tunnel back to the mainland at Virginia beach. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/13/2014 | 5:22:32 PM
Re: Measuring that carbon footprint
>I'm sure extending the pipes would be preferrable to shovelling the #$%! long distance.

#$%! in, #$%! out. Welcome to the Internet!
slove372
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slove372,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/14/2014 | 1:14:42 PM
Re: Measuring that carbon footprint
I think the "Bliss" fuel cells should say "Bloom". They are made by Bloom Energy. Maybe Bliss is a brand of Bloom Energy but I couldn't find a reference to it.

http://www.bloomenergy.com/fuel-cell/energy-server-architecture/

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/14/2014 | 6:15:48 AM
Google's data center in Hamina, Finland
Keith, 

The sauna in Google's data center in Finland is normal. There are more saunas than cars in Finland. You can find a sauna in most companies, factories, apartment buildings, and of course many people have their own sauna at home.

It is common for employees to go to sauna after their work hours before going home. This sauna was already there for the employees from the old paper mill. Many business meetings take place in sauna. :)

-Susan 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 3:08:45 PM
Re: Google's data center in Hamina, Finland
Susan, I won't hold my breath to see any data centers with saunas in NYC :)
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/16/2014 | 11:30:18 AM
Re: Google's data center in Hamina, Finland
Laurianne, 

Most likely you won't see any. :) Do you want to hear more? Every year in November there is the three-day Slush conference in Helsinki for European startups and VCs.

There is a sauna for all the attendees who wish to discuss business there, or simply take a break and relax. Yes, these things happen only in Finland. :D

-Susan 
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
3/19/2014 | 3:07:34 PM
Re: Google's data center in Hamina, Finland
I'd all be for some data centers in Iceland since they have the nice benefit of really cheap electricity and a climate built to cool those server racks.  Too bad the pipes to extend it out would cost quite the fortune.

 

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/20/2014 | 6:31:27 AM
Re: Google's data center in Hamina, Finland
Stratustician,

Iceland is a smart choice for datacenters that don't pollute at all. In fact, all cold-climate countries are ideal for datacenters.The Nordic and Scandinavian countries have also the advantage of using renewable energy.

And and we see, more and more datacenters are populating this part of the world.

-Susan 
kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/26/2014 | 2:21:55 PM
Photo correction
Got a note from "Ted T Business" that the photo (from Bing) purporting to be the New York Stock Exchange Euronext in Mahwah, New Jersey is in fact the data center in Carteret, NJ. For what it's worth, here is the Bing photo that this reader claims is Mahwah:



He adds, "Yes, I've been in the data center that is shown."
kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/26/2014 | 2:25:06 PM
Iceland
There is at least one project to build out a data center park in Iceland. It was announced 5 years back, if I recall correctly, and has several tenants at this time. As Stratustician noted, Iceland's limitation is its fiber density. The Scandanavian countries are all better situated from that point of view.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2014 | 12:33:14 PM
Re: Iceland
Keith, 

I was remembering that there was a great video about Iceland on Internet Evolution by Steve Saunders. I had the intention of saving it before IE disappeared, but then at the last minute I forgot as I was quickly saving my own stuff. :( It would have been nice to have it here as illustration for this discussion.

Iceland is part of Scandinavia as well. :)

-Susan 
kadawson
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kadawson,
User Rank: Author
3/27/2014 | 12:43:41 PM
Re: Iceland
Iceland is part of Scandinavia as well

Live and learn! Did not know that. Greenland too?
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2014 | 1:42:55 PM
Re: Iceland
Keith, 

There is always some sort of confusion about which countries are Scandinavian and which ones are Nordic. It all depends on if we are talking about geographical location, or linguistically. It goes like this: 

Greenland belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark, but it's autonomous. It's not considered neither Scandinavian nor Nordic even though it has a strong cultural connection with them. 

Geographically speaking, the Scandinavian peninsula is made up by Norway, Sweden, and part of the north of Finland. Linguistically, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish share the word "Skandinavien", which refers to the ancient territories of the Norsemen: i.e. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Iceland was also one of the Norsemen's regions and Icelandic belongs to the same linguistic family as Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish. Finnish doesn't belong to this linguistic family. 

And then, the French decided to put some order to this mess and came up with calling Norway, Sweden, Denmak, Iceland, and Finland the Nordic Countries. :) 

-Susan

 
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