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Data Centers Don't Need To Be Regulated Utilities
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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2013 | 7:39:12 PM
re: Data Centers Don't Need To Be Regulated Utilities
dcguy is a data center professional who was interviewed by James Glanz at the New York Times but not quoted in his May 13 story. He says he disagreed with the drift of Glanz' questions. I've had my own discussion with dcguy and he strikes me as a knowledgeable figure after 18 years in the industry. Readers may draw their own conclusions but I for one don't get the one-sidedness of Glanz approach. Charlie Babcock, senior writer, InformationWeek
dcguy
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dcguy,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2013 | 12:56:28 PM
re: Data Centers Don't Need To Be Regulated Utilities
I finally made some time to read your article and I thought it was a fine rebuttal to what Mr. Glanz had presented. I was contacted for the article however my opinions based on being in the industry were not cited.

I found it interesting that while he contacted what I suspect were dozens of insiders/potential sources (at least two other peers I know of), not one of the sound bytes were used, only the ones that supported his position of data centers as filthy uncontrolled buildings where an industry conspires against the axe grinding realists like himself to do evil in the world and wield filthy electricity as its weapon of choice. And occasionally give said realists something trendy and sexy to write about to stir the pot. You quoting only him was the icing on the proverbial cake. Well played sir.

The fact is that data centers have demonstrated more efficiency gains per megawatt than the comparative number of homes (1 MW=1,000 Homes) in the last 30 years. The carbon footprint of 1,000 homes is far greater than a data center and 1,000 homes operation FAR less efficient than a data center. A cruise ship runs its diesel engines and generators more in one cruise than a data center will in its 20 year useful life. The emissions from power generated from a coal plant to feed a city are higher than that of a data center. That's where the real story is - comparing everyday uses of power, at scale, against the data center scale and see who is greener. My money is on the data center.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2013 | 3:11:43 PM
re: Data Centers Don't Need To Be Regulated Utilities
"Interviews with regulators in several states
revealed widespread lack of understanding about the amount of
electricity used by data centers or how they profit by selling access to
power," Glanz wrote.

I agree with Charlie that the industry experts are on the cutting edge here. Think of the knowledge inside Facebook or Amazon on this topic, compared to government regulators. Does this remind anyone else of the early days of virtualization and cloud security, when IT pros were way ahead of PCI auditors in terms of knowledge?

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
6/10/2013 | 9:25:53 PM
re: Data Centers Don't Need To Be Regulated Utilities
When I reread what's written here, I want to add an addendum: major data centers must use power efficiently or the government may one day be justified in stepping in and regulating then. Efficient use of power in modern life will be required, not optional, as the cost of global warming starts to be felt. The data centers described by the N.Y. Times in Northern N.J. are in many cases modern ones that deliver 480 volt power off transmission lines to a power panel in the vicinity of the server racks. The higher voltage reduces power lost in transmission. Most enterprise data centers, however, use standard 120 and 220 volt power, because they don't wish to deal with the hazards and infrastructure requirements of 480 volt power. The difference is akin to the difference between the water in a high pressure fire hose versus the water coming out of the kitchen faucet. Completely understandable that enterprise IT prefers the latter, but wholesale data centers should be respected for what they've accomplished - as well as targets of criticism. Charlie Babcock, senior writer, InformationWeek


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