Yahoo's Data Center Future, Industrial Data Center Revolution

I had a chance to talk to Chris Page, Yahoo's Director Climate and Energy Strategy at Yahoo! Inc.  I've had the opportunity to watch Chris's presentations over the years at various data center conferences, and I was curious on what she had to share after three years at Yahoo!.

There has been ample press coverage and the Yahoo! team pulled off data center PR that sets the standard for responsible citizenship.  We don't have to name the others who throw data center events/openings, but few come close to what Yahoo has in being professional.


Yahoo opening buoys hopes for attracting more

By By Jonathan D. Epstein


Published:September 21, 2010, 7:33 AM


Carol Bartz, the Internet giant's CEO, joined Gov. David A. Paterson, Sen. Charles E. Schumer and a host of other state and local politicians in unveiling the new "server farm" at the Town of Lockport Industrial Park.

The project highlights the Sunnyvale, Calif., company's first use of a new environmentally friendly design that relies in large part on Western New York's cooler climate and the availability of low-cost hydropower to conserve energy and save on electricity costs.

"We're thrilled to unveil our world-class data center in Lockport and take an active role in the community," Bartz said. "Yahoo is serious about sustainability and is leading efforts to address climate change. That's why we believe in creating highly efficient data centers that minimize the impact on the environment."

So my first question to Chris was "what is next?"

Chris discussed how a low PUE is just a part of the effort.  There are efforts in power supplies, UPS systems, reliability of systems, load balancing across sites, compute with less watts, and decreasing water.

The Yahoo chicken coop (YCC) design will support Yahoo's expansion into new site construction which logically would mean going to Europe and APAC with the design.  And Chris said the engineering team was confident the YCC can work in many other regions.

But, going after the dozens of small changes is what is next.  Which brings up the approach of holistic system design and Chris used the term the arrival of "Industrial Revolution in Data Centers." 

But the danger of being an industrialists is the "robber baron" persona.

Robber baron is a pejorative term used for powerful 19th century United States businessmen and banker . The term may now relate to any businessman or banker who used questionable business practices to become powerful or wealthy.

Yahoo has demonstrated a socially responsible citizenship in data centers.  And as Chris points out there is an industrial revolution in data center construction.  Data centers are one of the fastest growing industrial segments, and the companies who have the most are the information industrialists.

Who are the companies who have the reputation of these industrialists/robber barons?

List of businessmen who were called robber barons

Yahoo has figured out they don't want to be on this list.  Google too.  The top financials - Wells Fargo, BofA, Citicorp, and JP Morgan are all sensitive to the environmental impact of their future data center construction.

Think about your data center impact to your companies brand.  You don't want to be listed as a data center robber baron who exploits the environment.

Green your data center.