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Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-air-to-move dept.

Earth 198

Nerval's Lobster writes that a survey from the Uptime Institute "suggests something it calls 'green fatigue' is setting in when it comes to making data centers greener. 'Green fatigue' is exactly as it sounds: managers are getting tired of the increasingly difficult race to chop their PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness. The PUE is a measure of a data center's efficiency. The lower the PUE, the better — and Microsoft and Google, with nearly limitless resources, have set the bar so high (or low, depending on your perspective) that it's making less-capitalized firms frustrated. Just a few years ago, the Uptime Institute estimated that the average PUE of a data center was around 2.4, which meant for every dollar of electricity to power a data center, $1.4 dollars were spent to cool it. That dropped to 1.8 recently, an improvement to be sure. But then you have companies such as Google and Microsoft building data centers next to rivers for cheap hydroelectric power in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest and reporting insanely low PUEs (below 1.1 in some cases). The Institute latest survey of data center operators shows only 50 percent of respondents in North America said they considered energy efficiency to be very important to their companies, down from 52 percent last year and 58 percent in 2011."

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Fuck those companies (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765403)

How irresponsible for them to cry that their competitors are destroying the environment less than they are. Fuck you, you greedy little fucks. You are lucky that you get to be as wasteful as you do. When the world starts getting too hot you are going to be bitching about that too and once again fail to realize that it's your fault.

Re:Fuck those companies (2)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765583)

Consolidation might be good for industry in this case.

Re:Fuck those companies (3, Interesting)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766137)

Everyone does realize this was one of those "On a scale of 1 to 6, 6 being extremely important" type surveys, right? It was also among other categories (ranked for importance) like:

Up-front cost
Long-term cost / TCO
Speed of delivery
Reliability
Electrical/energy efficiency
Minimizing under-utilized assets / operating near full capacity

Re:Fuck those companies (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765625)

How irresponsible for them to cry that their competitors are destroying the environment less than they are.

They're only human. You have people yelling at you that you're destroying the planet enough times you tend to get jaded. Also, this is a little like claiming butchers are tired of sharpening their cleavers; if I'm a middle manager that last thing I want to hear from my stable of IT monkeys is "I'm tired of finding ways to cut costs." My response would be to point out where the door is. Last thing I need is a minion refusing to do something as important as cutting costs when possible.

Re:Fuck those companies (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765689)

But there is a difference between cutting costs just for the sake of cutting costs, and being wasteful....

Re:Fuck those companies (3, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766075)

True. Those things are almost exact opposites. You will never waste money by cutting costs, if you are accounting correctly.

Re:Fuck those companies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765697)

They are not "only humans"! They are *Americans*!
And *that* explains their fucked-up mindset of instead of *stopping destroying the planet*, getting jaded.
Fuck that! Go fuck yourselves! Nobody cares how "jaded" you are! Reality check: YOU. ARE. ACTIVELY. MURDERING. AN. ENTIRE. PLANET!
NOBODY cares if you like being yelled at and stopped at doing that! It's our existence on the line! And in that case, you can bet your ass that we'll end yours before you end ours! (And in the end, nature always wins. We're just not interested in going extinct *with* you.)

How fuckin' hard is that for you to get in your thick retarded ignorant delusional American skulls, you fucktards??

Re:Fuck those companies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765769)

Pretty hard apparently, USAsians are some of the stupidest people on the planet. It's kind of sad, because they used to be just regular people, but for the last seventy years or so, they've become blind to their own stupidity. They think absolutely nothing about pollution or violence and have an attitude of "fuck everyone else, we're going to get rich!". As bad as it sounds, it's comforting in a way to know that the US is about to collapse. At least the EU and China aren't so rigidly individualistic that we'll poison our children for temporary comfort. I do feel bad for Canada and Mexico though.

Re:Fuck those companies (4, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765913)

At least the EU and China aren't so rigidly individualistic that we'll poison our children for temporary comfort. I do feel bad for Canada and Mexico though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal [wikipedia.org]

Riiiiight.

Re:Fuck those companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765805)

They are not "only humans"! They are *Americans*! And *that* explains their fucked-up mindset of instead of *stopping destroying the planet*, getting jaded. Fuck that! Go fuck yourselves! Nobody cares how "jaded" you are! Reality check: YOU. ARE. ACTIVELY. MURDERING. AN. ENTIRE. PLANET! NOBODY cares if you like being yelled at and stopped at doing that! It's our existence on the line! And in that case, you can bet your ass that we'll end yours before you end ours! (And in the end, nature always wins. We're just not interested in going extinct *with* you.)

How fuckin' hard is that for you to get in your thick retarded ignorant delusional American skulls, you fucktards??

At least you're staying calm.

Re:Fuck those companies (2, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765989)

They are not "only humans"! They are *Americans*! And *that* explains their fucked-up mindset of instead of *stopping destroying the planet*, getting jaded. Fuck that! Go fuck yourselves! Nobody cares how "jaded" you are! Reality check: YOU. ARE. ACTIVELY. MURDERING. AN. ENTIRE. PLANET! NOBODY cares if you like being yelled at and stopped at doing that! It's our existence on the line! And in that case, you can bet your ass that we'll end yours before you end ours! (And in the end, nature always wins. We're just not interested in going extinct *with* you.)

How fuckin' hard is that for you to get in your thick retarded ignorant delusional American skulls, you fucktards??

I realize talking shit about America is just so cool on /. Especially by anonymous little bitches like you. But why don't you take that electricity powered computer that is filled with toxic crap and use if for something useful if you are so concerned with "murdering an entire planet" instead of posting crap on /.? If you can't do that, then I would suggest you think of the environment and shove it up your ass and go live in a fucking cave.

It seems to me that most of the people I see bitching about the USA(who are not from there) tend to be from a country that was formerly a major power compared to the rest of the world. And after you and your countrymen got finished fucking up some large region you collapsed in on yourselves. Leaving someone else to un-fuck what you did. For the last half a century or so that has been the US. While we have done some colossally stupid things, I'm not sure there has been a more benevolent leading nation. Yes you can bitch about atomic bombs and wars all you want. But considering the capacity for destruction the US has, it has remained more restrained than most if not all before it. What do you think would happen if North Korea or Iran had the arsenal the US does? What if the Germans or Italians had in it in the 30's or 40's? Or the Ottoman empire?

I'm so happy that you come from such a peace loving enlightened country. And that you are such an enlightened individual. Oh wait, you're not. You just threatened my country with genocide. What have you and your countrymen done for the world? I'd seriously like to know what country you even come from. For all the stupid shit we americans do, have you ever looked at the amount of financial aid we give to countries that have absolutely no strategic value? Or the amount of food we give away, or the number of paid and volunteer americans who go to help other countries? As much as I hate war and violent conflict, I'm also not stupid enough to sit idol if my home is attacked. Fortunately with the current arsenal if you feel the need to "end our existence" I'm sure as a last resort we'll be plenty happy to turn your home into a shiny new glass parking lot.

Re:Fuck those companies (4, Informative)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766319)

What have you and your countrymen done for the world? I'd seriously like to know what country you even come from. For all the stupid shit we americans do, have you ever looked at the amount of financial aid we give to countries that have absolutely no strategic value?

Yes, I have. It's embarrassingly low. A little less than what Greece gives, about half of what Germany gives, about 1/5th of what Sweden gives.

There's some stats over at [statisticbrain.com] http://www.statisticbrain.com/countries-that-give-the-most-in-foreign-aid-statistics/ [statisticbrain.com]

The US has a lot of good points. Foreign aid isn't one of them, and neither is consumption patterns.

(Oh, and I live in the US and am originally from Norway, if that makes a difference.)

Re:Fuck those companies (2, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766403)

The total dollar amount given by the US is $28.67 billion [wikipedia.org] That's more than number two and three (France and Germany) combined. If you factor in military and financial aid for 2011 was $49.5 billion [wikipedia.org] . There's also an additional 10 to $30 billion donated by private non-government sources.

Re: Fuck those companies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766483)

Grim Reefer has the numbers covered, but I have to reiterate:

You do understand the difference between aid as a percentage of GDP versus absolute amounts, right? As in, the USA gives fairly poorly in relation to its total GDP, but that amount is still fucking HUGE.

Tell me, what feeds more starving children: Money to buy enough food, or a lot less food and the knowledge that it was a more significant contribution in relation to the country's size? Yeah, I thought so.

Re:Fuck those companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766053)

You sound like a middle manager. Execs won't let you near the upper floors and the engineers keep you locked out of the dc. Maybe you should draw up another power point slideshow.

Re:Fuck those companies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765793)

and once again fail to realize that it's your fault

Blacks don't think anything is their fault. Having more of themselves in prison than college at any given time is magically not their fault. Black kids that study and try to learn and do good in school to get ahead are beaten up. Did you think it was racist white kids doing that to then? Noooo... It's mainstream black kids. They beat up the black kids who study because they're "acting white". But somehow, that isn't their fault.

The crack epidemic in the 80s affected mostly blacks. Why? Because racist whites held guns to their heads and forced them to smoke crack? Nooo.... Because of their decisions to use crack. That they made. More than anybody else did. But somehow, that isn't their fault.

Black women disproportionally get most abortions. They disproportionally get knocked up out of wedlock and have kids they can't afford. If they thought abortion was expensive, just think about what it costs to raise a child. If they thought abortion was cheap, compare what birth control would have cost. Did racist whites hold guns to their heads and force them to copulate and get inseminated? Noooo.... But somehow, that isn't their fault.

Black fathers disproportionally abandon their children, leaving them as bastards raised by single mothers. Even though this causes all sorts of probelms, making the kids more likely to go to jail, to not go to college, to do drugs and alcohol, to be criminals, all sorts of shit. Did racist white people hold guns to these "father's" heads and make them abandon their children? Noooo... But somehow, that isn't their fault.

But if you don't like niggers and OBJECTIVELY EVALUATE WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DO and then draw YOUR OWN conclusions... somehow, that's YOUR fault.

why not migrate everything to the cloud? (5, Funny)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765445)

that always works

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (-1, Redundant)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765573)

The could is data centers. Duh.

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765579)

*cloud

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (5, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765595)

That cloud is where the joke that went over your head is at. ;^)

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765779)

It is not! Check out the cloud [xkcd.com] .

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765715)

I assume you mean clouds run by third parties such as Amazon and RackSpace. I suspect that's what will happen when, as TFA suggests, the attention of the CFO's is directed towards the IT power and cooling bills. As an analogy, fifty years ago, all the major corporations proudly owned their own HQ and campus real estate. Now, fewer and fewer of them do - leasing is considered a smarter play.

Re:why not migrate everything to the cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765927)

They could use the condensation to cool the servers. It's perfect!

Doesn't really matter (2, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765459)

These are just publicity stunts. Computing is cheap in terms of energy, the energy used by datacenters barely registers in the total energy usage.

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

XaXXon (202882) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765539)

You know this because you run large-scale datacenters running millions of machines?

Re:Doesn't really matter (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765827)

You know this because you run large-scale datacenters running millions of machines?

Is first-hand knowledge required to make a factual statement? You manage a large-scale datacenter, Mr. X?

Re:Doesn't really matter (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765547)

Datacenters accounted for 1.3% of all electricity used worldwide in 2010, I imagine it's higher today, so reducing their power usage by say 40% is a big deal, almost as big as the similar reduction in the 5-6% of total electricity used for residential lighting we got by switching to LED/CFL.

Re:Doesn't really matter (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765627)

Actually, electricity is one of the major costs of running a large data center - the amortized cost of a single server is probably only a few hundred bucks a year over its lifetime. The energy to operate it is typically a comparable amount, and the energy for cooling is even greater.

Now I wouldn't expect anyone to upgrade their cooling efficiency on a regular basis, but it's foolish not to consider both operating and cooling efficiency during a major upgrade - you may end up paying a larger sticker price, but it can lower your amortized costs significantly.

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765757)

Especially when you consider that energy costs will only go up. Any improvements today will reap even bigger benefits down the road.

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765835)

Is it doomed to raise? If you build a datacenter with its own solar, wind and hydroelectric power supplies [slashdot.org] , why would the price raise?

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765999)

Well that's a good way to avoid a price increase. If you're off the grid you are free. Not many can manage that unfortunately.

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766377)

Not many can manage that unfortunately.

I understand this is the point of TFA

Re:Doesn't really matter (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765759)

In 2009 the EPA estimated that if historical trends for datacentre expansion continue (that is PUE remains steady as datacentres continue to be built) then USA datacentre power usage would consume 120 billion kWh/year. To put that into perspective a typical house uses about 12000 kWh/year. So datacentre usage was projected to be the equivalent of 10 million US households. Best case scenario currently puts this closer to 5 million US households.

That's just serving up data. Now add the insane amounts of network switching gear to allow data to get to the end users and then add the computing power of the end users themselves and you end up with a significant environmental footprint.

All this based just on environmental savings too. Don't forget energy costs money so by improving cooling efficiency there's significant opportunity for high ROI in the long run. Being energy inefficient these days is an express ticket to Chapter 11, especially for companies like Facebook and Twitter who had trouble monetising their services to being with. Many of these companies have a really large book value but very poor cashflows.

Re:Doesn't really matter (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766515)

Energy isn't cheap, but it is low enough to be absorbed in the price of the software without being losing you competitive edge.
However there is a phrase you need to spend money to make money. Which leads you need to have money to spend money. Which then finally means you need to Have Money to make Money. The sad truth of is the big guys will always have the upper edge just because they are more self reliant on their infrastructure, they can have their own power plants they can cut through regulations, influence governments with the carrot of see how many jobs I can bring to your area if you are willing to ease the rules for me, and if you don't Ill just go to an other area where their government will say yes.

Now these companies are not being green for the sake of being green, they are doing it to cut their costs down, and to get some good PR out of it.

Don't use HVAC? (3, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765473)

I like the way Facebook say they don't use HVAC... yet their entire BUILDING is a huge HVAC unit!

Efficiency of scale works nicely with HVAC, if you can afford to get the building made to your specs.

Re:Don't use HVAC? (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765839)

I like the way Facebook say they don't use HVAC... yet their entire BUILDING is a huge HVAC unit!

Amazon just hires local surfs to peddle bicycles that power belt-driven fans. When a surf drops, they simply hustle them out and replace them with another. Communities are so glad to have such a huge employer, they look the other way...

Re:Don't use HVAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765881)

ROFLMAO! /s

Re:Don't use HVAC? (3, Insightful)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765909)

Amazon just hires local surfs to peddle bicycles that power belt-driven fans. When a surf drops, they simply hustle them out and replace them with another. Communities are so glad to have such a huge employer, they look the other way...

Wouldn't those workers be replaced by labor cost saving robots?

Re:Don't use HVAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766175)

You seem like you are on the verge of realizing what most companies know. Not only is it cheaper to build a new datacenter than to retrofit a 30 year old building. It's even cheaper to build your own power company next door. Unless you think funneling a few megawatts through 80 year old cities is cheap.
I think we have a lot to learn about cooling data centers, starting with stop trying.

Re:Don't use HVAC? (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766233)

Not only is it cheaper to build a new datacenter than to retrofit a 30 year old building. It's even cheaper to build your own power company next door.

What's the basis for that belief? Sure, if you're speaking of the largest data centers in the world, with rather low margins which cooling costs can cut into, then you have considerable incentive to come up with ways to reduce that. Simultaneously, you have huge economies of scale while simultaneous swamping the local energy providers.

But if you're a small IT department providing a high value product (say, making sure a company's servers work is far more important than shaving dollars off of PUE), then the incentive to play the PUE game isn't there. Nor are the benefits.

Unless you think funneling a few megawatts through 80 year old cities is cheap.

If you're in an urban environment, then the infrastructure is there to provide a lot of cheap megawatts - at least outside of California which is special.

Dumb summery (2)

Bram Stolk (24781) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765487)

Dumb summary.
What does is matter how cheap the electricity is?
It is a ratio of two electricity costs.
Price of electricity has no effect on PUE.
Maybe climate has.
Cooling in arctic is cheaper than cooling in nevada desert.

Re:Dumb summery (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766265)

And cooling is also easier to get if you are located close to the sea or a major river. If you are lucky you can use the cool water "as is" to cool your data center and through that lower the cost for cooling a lot. Only the cost of the energy needed to pump the water is what will remain.

Water cooling of the data centers in combination with water cooled servers could be the answer. Could even keep down the noise in the data center.

And the cost of cooling will make sites where natural cooling is possible more attractive than other sites.

Re:Dumb summery (2)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766321)

Price of electricity matters. If your total electricity cost is $1000 per month you'd almost certainly find something else to concentrate on. If the same data centre costs $100,000 to run you'd be stupid not to look at it. Agreed the PUE doesn't change with cost, but the relevance does.

Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765489)

Copy the big boys and move to Prineville! Land is cheap and the city would love to have you. Just ask Facebook and Apple.

Full disclosure. I am not affiliated with the Prinville coc. I just live in central Oregon and data centers are a no brainer here.

Go North, Young Man (4, Interesting)

habig (12787) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765499)

Why don't they just site their centers up north? Here in Duluth, most of the year the outside air is cooled for free by mother nature. Heck, they could sell their waste heat to nearby homes and businesses and get a negative PUE.

Don't need to be green to worry about this, it's $$, something ever company wants.

Re:Go North, Young Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765531)

Latency. The servers need to be near the people.

Re:Go North, Young Man (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765553)

Well, it's in the middle of the US, so it will provide better latency to people in New York than having your servers located in San Francisco. It's also not far from some "large" cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis. Also for some things latency doesn't matter so much. Sure if you're gaming it makes some difference, but if you're streaming a movie from the datacenter, it doesn't matter if your ping time is 10 ms or 1000 ms, because the movie is going to buffer at least 2 or 3 seconds before you start to watch it anyway.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

dlingman (1757250) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765577)

Duluth suffers from the same problem Thunder bay has - it's 8 hours from anywhere.

Re:Go North, Young Man (4, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765609)

Yet only six hours at the speed of light*.

*Disclaimer: Speed of light in fiber optic cabling is even faster than speed of light in a vacuum, because vacuums have all the dirt swirling around in them, whereas fiber is very clean. So it says in our marketing material, anyway. So come build your data centers in Duluth, we welcome you.

Re:Go North, Young Man (2)

TheGavster (774657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765613)

For high-frequency trading or something I can see latency being an issue, but for some social networking site that is going to be accessed across some crazy latent cell modem anyway, I don't think the geography matters too much. Heck, I live on the east coast but played on a west coast WoW server and didn't have any problems.

I could see the increased distance as greater exposure to inter-ISP politics fallout since you have to transit more peering agreements; there was a week or so when service to the west coast was pretty slow because AT&T got in a spat with someone and stopped forwarding their traffic.

Re:Go North, Young Man (2)

Gorobei (127755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765629)

Why don't they just site their centers up north? Here in Duluth, most of the year the outside air is cooled for free by mother nature. Heck, they could sell their waste heat to nearby homes and businesses and get a negative PUE.

Don't need to be green to worry about this, it's $$, something ever company wants.

At my last co, we did just that at a Canadian compute farm - used cold river water as the main coolant, pumped the low-grade waste heat to a local town for residential heating.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765635)

That is funny but their are good reasons. One do you have cheap Hydro power in Duluth? Fiber? The people arguing about latency are a bit silly. South Florida to Seattle is only 14ms distance so it would be about a third of that Duluth to LA or NY.
The places that they are building data centers have cheap hydro power and even better cheap cold water. Frankly the ideal place for a Data Center is probably the Hoover Dam. The Colorado river is actually too cold because of the dam so dumping the heat back into it would probably be a good thing for the ecosystem.

Re:Go North, Young Man (0)

bastion_xx (233612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765679)

MIA to SEF is around 50ms on a good day. MPLS providers will set their SLA around that value, so it's a pretty good bet the Internet as a whole will have some induces latency. Don't forget all the regeneration of signal and hops along that airmles route.

Ask the high frequency traders, ad providers, or other brokers how important latency is and you'll get a different story. There's a good reason people colocate at 111 8th or other downtown locations in Manhattan then across the river in Secaucus NJ. Data centers are always going to be a) close to the companies that house CPE there; b) close to others they wish to communicate with (NYSE, NASDAQ, CME) and then close to the carrier hotels (1 Wilsire, 56 Marietta, etc), and backed up by SLA driven networks, not just Network Service Provider connections.

PUE is more achievable in homogeneous DC's that Google, Facebook or Apple run. It's harder to get a PUE under 1.8 when in a heterogeneous data centers. It's hard to convey to customers that their per-kWH cost isn't just a markup on the utility power, but everything else that goes along with cooling, maintainability, and DC operations.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765953)

Of course not everyone has needs where the distance in the speed of light in just a few hundred yards in .00001 of a second means trillions of lost dollars stealing from the backs of hard working savers in manipulating the stock prices in buying and selling the same share at the same time to rip them off.

I would consider that a niche scenario where the backers of this own 90% of all the money anyway and don't mind the energy cost in terms of what they can manipulate back.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766249)

Of course not everyone has needs where the distance in the speed of light in just a few hundred yards in .00001 of a second means trillions of lost dollars stealing from the backs of hard working savers in manipulating the stock prices in buying and selling the same share at the same time to rip them off.

Well, what are they doing where they need that kind of speed? If they're outwitting human traders, then latency can be seconds to minutes and they'd still get in ahead of most small time traders.

And "trillions of dollars" "stolen"? Hasn't happened yet. Sounds like you're confusing the real estate crisis with HFT. They aren't the same.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766337)

Trillions already has been stolen.

Look at where the wealth in the US is? That money didn't just magically leap into the middle class bank accounts to them did it?

I am not a socialist nor do I believe in class warfare but the savers in the top rich have gotten that money through tricks like using supercomputers to set the price of a share in a few millionths of a second. Basically if news or electronic trades of a company like Apple start coming in then your super computer below the stock exchange has a keen advantage of quickly selling shares to cash in. Or if Sysco just reported disapointing earning and the price is starting to go down you can quickly short the stock from other computer programs further away from the floor and still make money in a few millionths of a second.

Basically it would be like you see milk at the grocery store for $3.99 a gallon. A program sees you reach out for it and quickly raises the price to $4.50 a gallon and as soon as it magically goes back down to $3.99 a gallon. No matter how quick you are to grab the milk you get raped in a blink of an eye!

Sounds ludcrious but this is the debate about flash or HFT which is high frequency trading. The very top rich use fiber and and try to duke it out on who gets quicker latency in order to play these games. If someone beats you then you lose.

Yes Wall Street does own Trillions and about 3/4 of the money in the US while the rest of us fight for it. Mostly rich people with savings accounts. Simple math dictates that for someone to win someone else has to lose right?

Re:Go North, Young Man (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766045)

"That is funny but their are good reasons. One do you have cheap Hydro power in Duluth? Fiber?"

Cheap land? Check.
Cold frigid body of water? Check
Cheaper workers? Check
Lower taxes? Check

The cost of land compared to California? Priceless!

I got into a debate 2 years ago when someone said you must be in the bay area if you are a young I.T. startup! I called that out as Bullshit! Unless you already have tens of millions of dollars sitting in your bank account. Texas is a much better deal. Those who hated Texas felt free to correct me but I gave a business reason. How much would an ok average software engineer cost in Austin? $55,000 a year. San Francisco? $90,000 a year. Rent for a tiny 15 person team in Austin? $80,000 a year. San Francisco $1,000,000! Taxes in California? 10%! Taxes about 2.5% etc.

See where I am coming from? It is stupid to start a business in the bay area. Synergy my ass. There is nothing magical about the bay area where you magically will have customers pay you money to offset the costs. Too many programmers for too little talent that can leave you in a heartbeat where my costs are 300% just to appear cool. It is a business my friend and I am just here to make money. Stop imitating others and start being different to get ahead.

Walmart beat all the nickel and dime stores like Woolsworth in NYC when they are in rural Arkansas to cut costs. When you have a shoe string budget starting out and your new investors want a profit by the end of the month Minnesota or Alaska sound like a much better option. When you talk to a financial guru they always advise to spec out your costs and triple them and then when you are done double them.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766081)

Also I may add the silicon industry was started by Mayfield semi conductor whom AMD, Intel, Micron, and others spawned from. They stayed there and formed what it is today.

They were laughed at as IBM and every other tech company was in New Jersey and New York. That was where real innovation was from etc. Investors thought NYC is where they should relocate for real engineering talent.

They started in Silicon Valley because it was very cheap and near SF. So likewise the new thinkers will come where it is cheaper like India or in Minnesota. Fiber is everywhere too expect in real rural areas.

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766199)

"Cheap land? Check.
Cold frigid body of water? Check
Cheaper workers? Check
Lower taxes? Check"
Ever hear of the TVA? What about eastern Washington state and Oregon?
Tenesse and North Carolina have all of those things plus cheap power.
Washington and Oregon have all but maybe the lower taxes but I bet they are lower than California plus the cheap power. We are talking about data centers so they do not employ a huge number of people.
I think you are right about start ups but here is the rub. The VC firms and tech press are all in SF, Seattle, and NY. Getting coverage and money will be much harder to get. People on the coasts do not understand that the US is full of great beautiful places to live that are dirt cheap and dang close to empty. The problem comes down to money and press.
 

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766235)

That is funny. You're joking, right?

If you want to do an I.T. startup, you don't want an average software engineer. Competition is ruthless. You need engineers above top 1%. The reason to locate in the Bay Area is because it has the largest concentration of software engineers, and thus you'll have the best luck finding extremely good ones. Good luck convincing them to move to Texas.....and if you have average programmers, you'll have average software, and if you have average software you'll probably fail.

And if you think you can just throw 5 programmers making $55k/yr at a problem and have them do half the job of one good one making $200k you don't know much about programming. Ever hear of the Mythical Man Month? They say a good programmer has 10x the productivity of an average one. A bad one has negative productivity(due to bug introduction, poor design, communication). And the productivity of a programmer declines for each additional programmer on the team. (It is said this is because the number of different relationships/communications paths grows with the square of the number of programmers.)

Re:Go North, Young Man (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766309)

I have a few thousand in my bank account right now. I can't afford anyone else. When things pick up I will first get a secretary. Then someone to help part time. Then a full time. Then hire a consultant instead of a fulltime employee etc.

Oh just go get some venture capitalists you say? Ha! Have you ever watched Shark Tank? If you do not have good profits ... notice I did not say revenue, but actual profits with exploding growth and 0% risk Mark Cuban wont even talk to you.

I do not have several million to spend and neither did Mark Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, or anyone else. Investors would not talk to them without money first. After all who wouldn't want risk free guaranteed profit right?

I know it seems unrealistic but these big guys demand it because they have so much more cash than you or I.

So basically here is how it is going to work. I am dirt cheap and so are the other enterprenuers. I need a hosting service for the cheapest price, but with the uptime and staff needed. The 200k full time employee comes at the last stages after I have already proven to investors they will see their money back plus a return and the bank sees some assets it can seize if I do not pay by the end of the month. Yes it would be freaking awesome to hire an awesome guy right away to do it right, but that is not a reality.

A data center up there provides that and plus cutting costs raises the shareprice if I am already established so I can give myself a bonus. Yes, competition is brutal but at the end of the day better books with cheaper employees brings in more money for my salary and more investor money as they like see endless growth as they perceive as less risk by cutting costs.

Re:Go North, Young Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766167)

Air cooling of any sort is not sufficiently efficient to work for new data centers. Flowing water at 40 degrees F will cool much more effectively than air at negative 40 degrees F because water has ~650 times the density.

on what scale is this issue? (4, Insightful)

taj (32429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765505)

For instance, I suspect we waste more energy moving tap water in plastic bottles between cities.

Re:on what scale is this issue? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765617)

Well, we have to move that water around. What are people in New York City going to do when they can't get water containing Maine bear piss? New York bears just taste different ...

Re:on what scale is this issue? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765781)

Maine folks are tougher than NYCers. They get their bear piss "straight from the tap".

sounds a bit like a nirvana fallacy to me (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765775)

For instance, I suspect we waste more energy moving tap water in plastic bottles between cities.

"Well, people get shot all the time, so what's the big deal if I shoot someone?"

Doesn't work that way, does it? It sounds a bit like you're arguing a nirvana fallacy, namely that because this trend of saving energy in datacenters doesn't save energy everywhere, it's useless.

Re:sounds a bit like a nirvana fallacy to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766207)

How bout we just shoot you and call it even?
Or you could do yourself.

Re:on what scale is this issue? (4, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765783)

The difference between historical design and best practice is somewhere in the vicinity of being able to power 6 million US households [energy.gov] .

Not to mention the strawman you have made there. This isn't an either-or choice. Why can't we improve energy efficiency AND make an effort to rely less on bottled water?

Their data is too weak to support their conclusion (1)

Arnold Reinhold (539934) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765533)

One could also interpret the data as saying that since 2011, 8% of data center operators have looked into improving their energy efficiency and have done as much as they think feasible. That 50% consider energy efficiency very important in the latest survey suggests that it is still is. Data centers use about 2% of the electricity consumed in the United States.

Re:Their data is too weak to support their conclus (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765563)

Or to put it another way, since 2011 8% of data center operators have decided that they have other priorities than further improving what they perceive to be energy efficiency numbers that are as good as the cost of improving further can justify (while a much larger number still say it is a priority, but have no intention of improving it in the near future because they don't think the cost is justified by the potential savings).*

*None of this is intended to in anyway be in disagreement with any part of the point you made, just trying to phrase your point in another way (perhaps not well).

Out of date PUE? (1)

dsaint (14427) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765551)

Those PUE numbers don't seem up to date. Yahoo gets 1.08 PUE with their "chicken coop" design at their Buffalo data center. Google has said they can get 1.08 as well. Yahoo's design has been around since 2010 and Google brought out their more efficient data centers shortly after that. I'd be surprised if more companies weren't following in those footsteps.

Re:Out of date PUE? (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765725)

Datacenters with very low PUE are addressed in the summary : "But then you have companies such as Google and Microsoft building data centers next to rivers for cheap hydroelectric power in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest and reporting insanely low PUEs (below 1.1 in some cases)."

DC cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765559)

There may be SOME data center managers who are smart and energy literate ... but as someone who travels across the country visiting different companies for wireless and security purposes I can tell you they are the absolute minority.

I see only about 10 to 20 % of them even have dedicated hot air return plenums - and this might be as simple as using the plastic sheeting your grocery store use hanging partially over the racks ... but nope ...

Those HP racks with plastic plates don't help either - it only they would make them with an ability to mount once a device has been racked .. but once those square holes are filled ...

Not so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765575)

'Green fatigue' is exactly as it sounds

Green Fatigue sounds like a uniform for Army. Unlike never-nude, green fatigue isn't exactly as it sounds.

who gives a crap about Google (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765667)

Typical modern groupthink - if you dont match up to some artificial social standard you lose. Watch your own checkbook, don't chase some mythical metric that others self-report. You'll never win, they'll just keep moving the goalposts. Spend less money as you expand capacity, and you're doing a good job.

Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765673)

Typical ignorant American attitude. "Boo-hoo, we can't fuck up the whole planet for greed! Unacceptable!"
Guess what: NOBODY CARES!

Cause it's *us* you are killing with that behavior. The whole fuckin' planet! Now you have ten seconds to guess if we let you do that or not. ... Go!

'nuff said.

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765787)

Heh, you think we're fucking it up for everyone? Take a good look at what China is doing. Of course, don't bother telling them about it because they could give a fuck what you think about it. Even less than I do.

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765987)

Heh, you think we're fucking it up for everyone? Take a good look at what China is doing.

Dude, what's with the China bashing?

1) The pollution/carbon footprint per capita of the chinese is still way below the per capita footprint of the US or pretty much any other western country for that matter.

2) Even if they did pollute as bad as the US, it shouldn't have anything to do with the argument. A bad act is a bad act, regardless of who else is doing it. If some random person somewhere in the world shoots their wife, does that mean you would be justified in shooting your wife?

What's worse about this situation is that the data centers would actually make MORE money if they lowered their energy usage - so both the environment and the corporation would win. The problem is that these managers are just too lazy to do their job.

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766065)

China's pollution is rapidly rising. Overall they have more pollution but it is lower than the US per capita. The US rate is headed down however while the rate for China has been going up. This is not about China bashing but reducing pollution. It'll help if the US keeps dropping their levels of pollution but not if the Chinese just take over for us. I don't think lazy data center managers are so much of the problem as that the alternatives for reduction are harder and harder to get. Eventually you hit line where the return for your capital outlay isn't repaid by energy cost reduction. Data centers have to make a profit.

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765877)

Trollish troll, I rebuke thee with a Citationing of Statisticals:

Country / CO2 (ktonnes) / % of world emissions / source
  China (ex.Macau, Hong Kong) 7,031,916 23.5% UN Estimate[6]
  United States 5,461,014 18.27% UN Estimate[6]

Now go back from whence ye came, ye maggotous shite-ball of epical proporitionings!

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (3, Informative)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766001)

Trollish troll, I rebuke thee with a Citationing of Statisticals:

Country / CO2 (ktonnes) / % of world emissions / source China (ex.Macau, Hong Kong) 7,031,916 23.5% UN Estimate[6] United States 5,461,014 18.27% UN Estimate[6]

Except that the population of China is 1.3 billion, and the population of the US is 315 million, so the statistics you supplied basically state that the US is polluting over 4 times as much per person than China is.

Good argument you have there.

Why is there so much China bashing in this thread? The GP didn't mention them at all, and as I mentioned in an earlier comment, they aren't relevant to the conversation.

Re:Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766101)

The environment doesn't care about the ratio between population and GHG output. China is doing more harm than the US, full stop.

Their power infrastructure is being built as we speak and it is their choice to rely on cheap coal rather than solar, nuclear, or other CO2-free power generation sources. They want fast cheap industrialization, and they're getting it, but the consequence of that is that China is now by far the largest emitter of CO2.

Also, those numbers were from 2008; today, it's about 10 GT for China & 5 GT for the USA. The GHG per capita figure is about 17 kt/capita for the US and 7 kt/capita for China. In 2011. And the trend is down for the US (thanks, fracking!) and up for China (thanks, Deng!).

Re: Americans whining "Can't shit where I eat" (3, Informative)

KramberryKoncerto (2552046) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766423)

Neither does it care about international borders. The fact is that if people in China live their lives like people in the US then their pollution levels and energy spending would only be much, much higher. If you take countries instead of human beings as your base units this way, you would well come to the conclusion that the Chinese should starve because they eat more food than the Americans.

How I read this (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765685)

Some managers failed their basic economics classes and don't understand "economy of scale". You can do things in a large company that are not affordable for a small one. But anyone who thinks that giving up completely and throwing in the towel is an appropriate response doesn't deserve to be in a leadership position.

Thank you for your input. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765713)

We have taken your suggestion sir or madam as the case may be, and have fired all of the managers. We feel so silly for not noticing their utter incompetence earlier. Thank you for opening our eyes to this horrific situation. We have chucked them all in a ditch and piddled on them.

Re:Thank you for your input. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765795)

Think of all the hot air eliminated right there. Should be worth at least .2 reduction on the old PUE.

hydro doesn't affect PUE... (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765737)

But then you have companies such as Google and Microsoft building data centers next to rivers for cheap hydroelectric power in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest and reporting insanely low PUEs (below 1.1 in some cases).

Power Usage Efficiency [wikipedia.org] has nothing to do with the source of the power you're using.

It's not even a measure of efficiency of equipment.

Diminishing returns (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765763)

So they've been doing the stuff with the greatest return on investment.
What's left is the marginal improvements that probably cost more than they're worth.

Moving the whole datacenter to the Pacific Northwest just isn't in the cards for most companies.

Run hotter (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765765)

I read that google did some experiments a while back and found that running the datacenter hotter saved more $$$ in cooling than the cost of the increased failure rate of hardware. That's fine for some computing workloads, but what are the obstacles to making computers that can run with an acceptable failure rate in an ambient temperature of (say) 50C (~120F)? I assume there are some major obstacles, i'm just curious as to what they are.

Even if you could run the solid state hardware at 50C and the disks in a separate storage room at 22C, that would still be a win right?

Re:Run hotter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765993)

Since this is all "for the environment" anyway, don't forget to consider the environmental impacts of all those systems that fail and get thrown away or recycled.

Why are they worrying? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year and a half ago | (#43765807)

Why are managers worrying about meeting some arbitrary criteria set by Google/Microsoft/etc. for a metric that in the end doesn't matter? PUE is irrelevant, what matters to the business is the total cost of providing the computing power the business needs. If you have a cheap way of reducing that cost, take it. But if your cost's within acceptable limits and reducing it further's going to cost too much or take too much resources or investment, then stop wasting your time worrying about it and concentrate on other things you can improve. Like, say, improving the efficiency of your software so you don't need as much computing horsepower and bandwidth to do the job, which will automatically reduce both your power and cooling requirements right there.

PUE doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43765931)

The purpose of the data center is reliability. Higher reliability = less efficiency. People are considering PUE less important than downtime, and this is news?

Whittling? (1)

theshibboleth (968645) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766103)

Ok, I'm pretty sure this is a typo, as I can't figure out what any of this has to do with the definition, "To cut or shape wood with a knife" (wiktionary), but I'm at a bit of a loss to say what was actually intended... dwindling maybe? Still it doesn't seem an easy mistake to make. Although maybe if I'd RTFA I'd have found out this has to do with cooling down while shaving wood off a stick... Oh also wary instead of weary unless you're falling asleep while whittling.

Re:Whittling? (1)

yzf750 (178710) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766257)

carve (wood) into an object by repeatedly cutting small slices from it.

Read further into the dictionary... Substitute (wood) with costs

Or did I just miss a really bad joke?

Lack of resources is not equal to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43766105)

lack of interest for improvement. To paraphrase the environmental legislation principle of using the best available technology, if the best commercially reasonably available technology is coal powered forced air cooling then that should be used. If there is that river, and the environmental impact analysis doesn't show significant damage to the river ecosystem then harnessing the river could be considered on the condition that the cost and availability of the heat transfer and electricity are at commercially competitive levels.

Blind PUE obedience is a sing of fanatic.

Boo fucking hoo (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766121)

Of all the first world problems, green fatigue?

Bunch of pansies in IT need to get used to the idea of rationing.

Blame Facebook (1)

kriston (7886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766157)

You can blame Facebook for much of this green datacenter hype--some of which is arguably greenwashing.

Facebook was under the gun for opening its own data centers that were, and still somewhat are, powered by electricity generated by coal.

To answer this unwanted attention they bent over backwards to reduce power consumption at all costs, so much that they even designed their own "Open Data Center" servers to reduce power consumption at the cost of discarding nearly everything we already know works fine in conventional data centers.

And, to top it off, they greenwashed by buying carbon credits and energy that appears to come from non-coal sources.

Google and Microsoft are doing this the right way. Data centers should be in cold climates and supplied by truly renewable power.

That cheap hydroelectric power maybe going away... (3, Informative)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766293)

There's talk of removing a few Dams and with them the cheap power.

The Washington state Indians have a treaty to fish salmon they way they used to (with nets)
that they then sale to make a living. The salmon are in decline which is blamed in part to the Dams. All of
the Dams have fish ladders that help the Salmon migrate but they are asking for the lower (last) four Snake river Dams to be removed.
http://www.americanrivers.org/initiatives/dams/projects/snake-dam-removal-economics.html [americanrivers.org]

It's much more than just the Indians, but they seem to be the loudest.

From the link:
"Before the dams are removed, there must be a plan in place to: ...Replace the dams' energy in an affordable and carbon neutral manner..."

I don't see how that can be accomplished unless wind power can be considered carbon neutral.

Dollars are not apples to apples (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43766465)

They should compare BTU's of cooling to see efficiency.

Dollars just compares costs.

Cost of power can due to many factors.

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