Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will Data Follow the Moon?

If you follow evolving data center trends then you’ve heard the buzz about data processing “following the moon.” Google is leading the way, having opened a data center in Belgium which has no chillers. Chillers of course consume a large amount of electricity. By transferring data processing from center to center data crunching will literally migrate around the globe, “following the moon” as the phrase goes, allowing processing to occur in dark zones with cooler temperatures, thereby avoiding the need for chillers.

The ability to operate data centers without chillers has enormous implications to power reduction. The key of course will be the ability to transfer data and processing routines in a seamless manner that provides for data integrity and security. Among other difficulties this will require large amounts of bandwidth.

Aside from simply consuming less energy the strategy also has the advantage of consuming cheaper energy, since dark hours are normally off-peak times with lower rates.

I suppose the ultimate marriage here might be this follow the moon strategy coupled with renewable energy sources. Wind and solar energy production is daylight centric, but lots of very smart people are working on larger and more efficient storage systems.

The Beatles sang about following the sun, but it was a melancholy song. Data following the moon, however, could have us all humming a happier tune.

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