Oct 26

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Cultivating Server Farms

Reprising a theme that we wrote about on Radar a few months ago (see Cloudy, with a Chance of Servers), the New York Times has an intriguing article about the resurgence of the data center business.

Building data centers was a booming business before the dotcom bust, but that event left over a million square feet of unused data centers. That glut is long gone now, and there's a rush to build new centers.

The article makes a lot of interesting points -- the diversification of data center business beyond technology to mainstream businesses, the rising cost of building data centers (as high as $1000/square foot!), and our favorite, the importance of power as a gating factor.

“The first thing we look at is power,” Ms. Backaus [CEO of Data Center firm Equinix] said. “Getting generators today is the No. 1 thing that will drive your construction schedules.”

Cheap electricity has become so important, it has drawn big companies, like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, to Washington and Oregon to build their own server farms. Microsoft is building a center of 1.5 million square feet on 74 acres in Quincy, Wash., close to nearby hydroelectric dams. Yahoo is building one nearby and Google is putting up a center across the border in Oregon.

Their moves to the rural Pacific Northwest “just tells you how important power has become,” Mr. Magnuson said. “That’s the driver of the industry now.”

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 3   | Sphere It

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Comments: 3

  monopole [10.26.06 09:37 AM]

One of the oldest and greenest power sources drives the latest technology, Will Quebec Hydro drive the same technology?

Big wheels keep on turning, Proud Sergei keeps on serving...Serving, Serving, Serving on the river...

  Jenny [10.26.06 11:51 AM]

Modern large-scale hydro is relatively green for the air, though not for the land. The technique is basically to find a valley, fill it with water, fill it with silt, then find another valley...

  Jökull [10.27.06 09:23 AM]

Iceland is in the smack middle of the Atlantic Ocean and has a lot of semi-green hydropower. Do these two factors make Iceland a good place for data centers? We're waiting for our currency to be anchored to the euro -> increase in foreign investment -> global data centers?

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