Innovation in Data Centers

Moderated by Cynthia Figge, Co-founder and COO, CSRHUB; with Greg Ness, Vice President, Marketing, Vantage Data Centers and Chris Drumgoole, SVP, Terremark

GN: Fortune Magazine wrote about millions of data centers around the world. Data center is the wheelhouse of the next economy. The data center is extremely important in reducing waste.

CF: Greenpeace blasted Facebook for powering their data center with coal. What are the pressures of data center providers?

GN: Providers are pulling 5-6 megawatts. Operators want to go places where power is cheapest.

CF: What’s going on inside the data center?

CD: Data centers are 100s of thousands of square feet, without a lot of innovation in the last 10 years. They’re massively inefficient. In order to cool one server, they cool the entire space. Collection of buildings scattered around the world that are massively inefficient, but full of massively expensive capital. Innovation includes ambient cooling. Cloud allows data centers to cut energy inefficiencies.

GN: 2% of US energy use is in IT and the vast majority of that is in data centers. The need for efficiency there can have massive benefits for energy use for the company and the community.

CF: Growing at 9% annually. What innovations are you seeing?

GN: Facebook is bringing high voltages to one data center, using river water to cool, designing things like open-walled to cool with air, in E. WA, use wind power, using air condensation to cool. Adapting to the natural strengths of the area.

CD: Not as much innovation as there should be. Innovation through low-hanging fruit has occurred, but there’s room for a lot more. Servers are also scaling down and becoming more efficient.

GN: For enterprises building a data center every few years, design and implementation are easier when data centers are similar and inefficient. 3 public companies with more innovative data centers.

CD: Public innovation is coming from Google, Facebook, guys running single large homogeneous businesses.