Tonight I’ve been reading about data center dilemmas. I’m going to expand on some of the data center issues raised in the article.
First is the idea of upgrading data center facilities. Upgrading is never a bad idea (it’s always nice to plan ahead to avoid upgrading all the time, of course) but upgrading an not stripping out the obsolete is ridiculous. Abandoned facilities lead to confusion, potentially costly mistakes, and wasted time and money. Also, buildups of abandoned facilities under raised floors waste space, interfere with air flow, and can create serious hazards. Abandoned equipment is also frequently left powered, resulting in zombie gear that wastes power and that’s far from green. If it’s too much trouble to remove old facilities from raised floor, then it’s time to seriously consider dumping the raised floor.
Even though servers generally tend to have a fairly short lifespan, the critical thing is to make the rest of the infrastructure that supports those servers last as long as possible. Green systems, in addition to the energy saving financial benefits, also lends themselves to this. Free air cooling systems have a minimum of moving components and are easy to expand or modify. Green DC power plants and distribution networks are easy to expand and accomodate alternative local power generation sources.
I’ve talked in previous posts about embodied carbon, that physical equipment represents all of the carbon release that went into the manufacture and distribution of it. Equipping data center infrastructure to give it the most flexibility for the longest life is a great way to offset that embodied carbon.
Upgrading network equipment to get maximum capability from existing cable plant is also another no brainer, both from not wasting the embodied carbon in the physical facility, but also by making the network easier to manage (bigger pipes=fewer pipes) and less equipment, saving power.
It doesn’t look like much of a dilemma to me at all.
Vern, SwiftWater Telecom