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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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Facebook in Forest City, North Carolina 
Facebook was the first company to incorporate ambient-air cooling of its servers, in its data center in Prineville, Ore. Prineville is in the high desert, where the air is dry and cool at night.
Facebook's first live test of the Open Compute Project's outdoor-air and evaporative cooling designs in a locale with high ambient temperatures took place in Forest City, an environment where temperature and humidity frequently stray outside the ideal range for data center operations. The servers run at a maximum temperature of 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) and maximum relative humidity of 90%. The air cooling system proved to work well even when the outside temperature reached 102 degrees F (39 degrees C).  
One accepted measure of data-center efficiency is the PUE (power usage effectiveness), developed by The Green Grid. PUE is the ratio of power coming into the center to power applied to computing tasks; the ideal PUE is 1.0. Since it doesn't need to run chillers, Forest City achieves a PUE around 1.07, similar to that of Prineville. That's about the best in the business today. 
(Image: Facebook)

Facebook in Forest City, North Carolina
Facebook was the first company to incorporate ambient-air cooling of its servers, in its data center in Prineville, Ore. Prineville is in the high desert, where the air is dry and cool at night.

Facebook's first live test of the Open Compute Project's outdoor-air and evaporative cooling designs in a locale with high ambient temperatures took place in Forest City, an environment where temperature and humidity frequently stray outside the ideal range for data center operations. The servers run at a maximum temperature of 85°F (29°C) and maximum relative humidity of 90%. The air cooling system proved to work well even when the outside temperature reached 102°F (39°C).

One accepted measure of data-center efficiency is the PUE (power usage effectiveness), developed by The Green Grid. PUE is the ratio of power coming into the center to power applied to computing tasks; the ideal PUE is 1.0. Since it doesn't need to run chillers, Forest City achieves a PUE around 1.07, similar to that of Prineville. That's about the best in the business today.

(Image: Facebook)

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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 
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!
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. 
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 | 2:22:22 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.
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.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
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!

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Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
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