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    Thursday
    May272010

    Growth of Biomass energy plants is a new source for a Green/Low Carbon Data Center,

    NPR has an article on the growth of Biomass energy generation.

    Wood-Powered 'Biomass' Plants Have Critics Barking

    by MARTIN KASTE

    Listen to the Story

    Billions of dollars in tax credits for alternative energy were included in the federal stimulus package. Some of the money is going to encourage Americans to do something man has done for centuries: burn wood.

    Plans for electricity-generating "biomass" plants are in the works around the country — and they're under attack from critics who worry that burning more wood may not be as environmentally friendly as other kinds of alternative energy.

    I've had multiple conversations with OSIsoft's Pat Kennedy on the opportunity for data centers to locate near pulp and paper mills which have an abundance of biomass, energy, water, and steam to support data centers. 

    But, data center site selectors and their customers are risk averse going with safe places.  Google bought a decommissioned pulp and paper mill, and I blogged about biomass power generation here.  I know of an existing pulp mill with 20 megawatts of current renewable biomass power with plenty of steam and space for a data center, but the owner has had a difficult time getting data center developers, engineering and customers interested in his site given there are no other data centers located in the area.

    I am constantly amazed at how much money is wasted on data centers.  The number of executives who want to reach out and touch their data center put data centers close to their corporate offices like the bay area.  You don't see Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook building data centers in the bay area.

    If you want to have a competitive advantage in data center services go where the power is cheap and sustainable. 

    Keep in mind when you have a $100 million plus budget, the data center con game is on and you can get played.  Mike Manos describes some of this.

    Its an industry dominated by boutique firms in specialized niches all in support of the building out of these large technically complex facilities.  For the initiated its a world full of religious arguments like battery versus rotary, air-side economization versus water-side economization, raised floor versus no raised floor.  To the uninitiated its an industry categorized by mysterious wizards of calculus and fluid dynamics and magical electrical energies.  Its an illusion the wizards of the collective cottage industries are well paid and incented to keep up.   They ply their trade in ensuring that each facility’s creation is a one-off event, and likewise, so is the next one.  Its a world of competing General Contractors, architecture firms, competing electrical and mechanical firms, of specialists in all sizes, shapes and colors.   Ultimately – in my mind there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.  Everyone has the right to earn a buck no matter how inefficient the process.

    I wonder if it is worthwhile to give tips on the signs of when you are being thrown a lot of BS. 

    One of the top tips I would make is don't let your corporate real estate who provides your office space be responsible for data centers.  Data Centers are not office spaces, the people who you want to build your data center most likely are not the people who built your office space.

    Due to the money spent on data centers, almost no one says "yeh, I made a bunch of mistakes building mine, and I could have saved a bunch of money if I had made some different decisions.  Let me tell you what I would have done differently."  Because, if he did, he would mostly be fired for admitting he made million dollar mistakes.

    This is why people glowingly promote their data centers as being LEED certified and top efficiency, because it directly reflects on how smart they are.  Beware of those who are promoting their data centers, and don't tell you the mistakes made.

    No One Builds Perfect Data Centers.

    Read my post again on top 9 data center mistakes.

    Not Calculating PUE ROI, 1 of 9 Top Data Center Mistakes

    Lee Technologies sent over their Top 9 data center mistakes paper, and I liked it right from the start as they made the point people don't calculate an ROI for PUE performance.  PUE is closest to telling an efficiency of a data center which to a layman is the closest we have for data centers for a MPG, but who specifies a high MPG number and doesn't think about how much it costs for the extra MPG above the norm.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    "You don't see Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook building data centers in the bay area."

    Surely you jest. Microsoft has 20 megawatts of critical load, Facebook has at least 15, and Yahoo even more. Google had capacity in the bay area up until a few years ago.
    May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertinkthank
    That is the past. I am talking now. They are all building out of the area.
    May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Ohara

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