Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bad Data Center, Bad

A few days ago the House of Representatives approved, by 417-4, to approve the EPA to look into the adoption of energy efficient data centers. Certainly this is worth a lookee or two- from the article, "41 percent of Fortune 500 IT executives identified power and cooling as problems for their data centers", and we all know that some of these data centers take up as much power as the City of Honolulu. Honolulu, fun word.

I've been meditating on this. It reminds me of An Inconvenient Truth, where Al talks about the frog in the beaker. If you haven't seen it, and you must, the frog in the beaker goes like this: put a frog in a beaker. If you turn the gas up slowly, the frog will cook itself, because it doesn't respond to the gradual heat. But if you put a frog in a beaker with boiling hot water, the frog jumps right out.

Data centers are the boiling water of IT - there are thousands of computers there, cranking out 4000 watts per square foot. Of course they use a boatload of energy. If you need a poster child for green computing, they are it. They are it by 417-4. I seriously wonder why 4 representatives voted against it.

But what happens when the gas is turned up slowly? The other 1.1 billion computers that are out there, using 250 billion kilowatt-hours a year. This death of a thousand paper cuts, how will we legistlate this? I think there's some interesting sociological research to be done here. Because if we are only going to investigate the boiling water, our goose is cooked.

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