Sunday, September 27, 2009


Data Center Blues

Here I am, writing yet another post that adds another drop to the rapidly growing ocean of data that has to be stored in one of the many data centers out there. As I’ve noted in recent posts, this presents a serious and ballooning challenge to those who build and manage data centers, not to mention the data centers’ rising demand for power.

Here are two articles that shed more light on this problem and present us with some surprising and interesting facts. Here I will just mention two; please read the articles to see all the information they have to offer.

Considering the expense that goes into building a data center, you might be surprised to hear that many operators think that after just six to 10 years, their data centers are already nearing the ends of their service lives. If that is true, then new homes must be found for all the accumulated data in those aging data centers. That is in addition to all the data that are expected to be generated in the near future. So we need new data centers to handle both new and old data. Of course if the old data centers shut down, their power can be shifted to new data centers, but as we continue to accumulate more data, power requirements will rise no matter how efficient new data centers are (remember Jevons paradox).

To underscore my point about data proliferation and new data center construction, one of the articles says:
Yet, the data center market is growing rapidly even in this depressed economy. Newer, bigger, more powerful multi-megawatt sites are being planned and built at a rate not seen since the height of the dot-com boom days of the late 1990’s.
Wow! Even as I write this, data are multiplying like digital rabbits, and new hutches must be built for all of them.

So, keep an eye on this. It will be interesting to see how many rabbits we can continue to house until the bottom falls out of the hutches.

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