I had a conversation with John G. Miner at Santa Fe Institute’s Business Network event. John wrote the Intel paper on air economizer’s to reduce data center cost.
One of the ideas we discussed that totally makes sense for cloud computing and big data center companies is to look at automated handling systems for servers to be installed and serviced. At some point if not now it is going to make economic sense to use automated handling equipment to deliver servers to the rack location.
This means current racks are obsolete and current form factors. And special connectors need to be developed for power and cooling. Imagine servers automatically being loaded in shipping to be sent for service, and the reverse for receiving.
How hot can you make a data center with no people? And how much could you increase densities or change airflow with no thought for people access.
If anybody can do this I would guess Google and Amazon. Google has complete control over its data center systems. Amazon has experience with automated handling systems in its warehouses and knows the ROI of these devices.