Oct 30, 2012

Should data centers generate their own power?

I woke up this morning to clocks flashing 12:00 all over my house due to overnight power outages. Judging from the number of sites that I've had trouble accessing today, I guess there are a lot of data centers and server farms that have flashing clocks on their coffee makers at the moment thanks to power outages caused by the hurricane. What if places like data centers generated their own power, so that they wouldn't be dependent on the grid? I'm sure there would be added expense at first, but I would expect that to decrease over time, plus it would allow a shifting of expense away from backup power systems.



Apparently it already does make sense, at least to some companies in some situations.  Ebay is using Bloom Energy fuel cells to power its new data center in Utah.  I'm certain that Ebay did cost benefit analysis, and wouldn't have committed to this if it didn't make financial sense in addition to any environmental benefits.   



I believe that Apple is using solar power at its newest data centers. I do not know how many other companies are doing so, but it seems like a good idea not to have a data center dependent on an external power grid.

I suspect we'll probably see a lot of companies following in Apple's footsteps if they haven't already done so.
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