Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down on the server farm

Found this fascinating item through Google reader. It discusses servers, Internet computing. These two sentences jumped out at me:

Google is said to operate a global network of about three dozen data centres with, according to some estimates, more than 1m servers. To catch up, Microsoft is investing billions of dollars and adding up to 20,000 servers a month.

Microsoft catch up? Legacy of the decision of years back, I think Bill Gates's view, that Internet computing would not catch on.

As servers become more numerous, powerful and densely packed, more energy is needed to keep the data centres at room temperature. Often just as much power is needed for cooling as for computing. The largest data centres now rival aluminium smelters in the energy they consume.

That shows how computing is equal to industrial activity, as I see it.

Microsoft is looking for a site in Siberia where its data can chill. Iceland has begun to market itself as a prime location for data centres, again for the cool climate, but also because of its abundant geothermal energy. Hitachi Data Systems and Data Islandia, a local company, are planning to build a huge data-storage facility (pictured at top of article). It will be underground, for security and to protect the natural landscape.

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