Green data centers, recovering from insanity.

I’ve just been reading an article questioning the economics and supply of green data center space. No there isn’t enough supply and nobody in their right mind is going to be new “classic” data centers.

First, the statistics about California’s state data centers demonstrates exactly what’s wrong with “classic” data centers today. 400 data centers, 400,000 square feet, and only 9500 servers? Ignoring for the moment whether 9500 servers are actually required for the work that needs to be done, 400,000 square feet for 9500 servers? That’s 42 sq ft per single server or 2000 sq ft per each loaded 48U cabinet. This can only be charitably described as totally nuts. Now, compare this to 1 location and 10,000 servers in 4 containers.

Next, lets assume that all 9500 servers are actually needed. Figure a conservative 6:1 ratio by virtualizing them and you’re down to less than 1600 physical servers. Now you’ve traded off 400 locations, 400,000 sq ft of space, for 1 location and a single container. I don’t think there’s any question about the cost benefits of going green.

The protestations of companies stuck in the past that going green costs too much and would drive prices through the roof have largely evaporated now that it’s been proven that exactly the opposite happens. Being “evironmentally cuddly” is also good for the bottom line as well.

Finally, there’s the idea that companies won’t go to a green data center provider unless there’s an economic benefit. Even if you could find a “classic” data center provider who could beat the economics of a green data center provider, companies these days also have to consider the publicity consequences of not being at least seen to be doing something in the green directions. Witness the backlash against Facebook for using coal generated power for it’s latest “green” data center.

The economics of green data centers are right, the negative consequences of operating the old way are real, and the move is on. Move with it or get run over.

Call or email me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center and cloud computing services minus the hype.


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