The notion that computing giants are pursuing ways of reducing the power it takes to cool their datacenters doesn’t come as a surprise. However, this Computerworld story on Google’s chiller-less facility in Belgium makes mention of an intriguing concept that dovetails with the promise of cloud computing.
The datacenter will use outside air for cooling and will even work weather forecasting into its power management strategy. When it gets too warm outside–only expected to happen a handful of days a year–Google plans to transfer the load to other sites and effectively shut down until the cool weather returns.
Interesting stuff, but it’s the follow the moon concept the article mentions that got my attention. Experts think that one day organizations might take advantage of nighttime temperatures and lower electricity rates and have their computing resources chase day/night boundary. After all, it’s always night somewhere in the world.
The problem with such a plan is that it requires resources that only the Googles of the world can afford. It would also require expansive datacenter build-outs to get the global footprint required for such an effort. Fewer and more efficient datacenters are likely to have a better impact. And as electricity from renewable sources becomes commonplace and cheaper, the point becomes moot.
Nonetheless, an interesting concept.