Data Center Wars

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Reining in IT Energy Consumption

Many IT organizations don't account for energy costs when formulating their IT budgets and have little visibility into the true costs.

With thousands of jobs and millions of dollars at stake, states, and even countries, are battling to bring more data centers inside their borders.


Faced with rising energy issues and looming concerns over environmental regulations related to carbon emissions, operators of data centers are moving to locations where there is plenty of cheap electrical power available. This is a significant issue for major cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco and a potential boon for any state or country that has access to inexpensive hydro power.

In fact, the state of New York today announced a two-year, $10 million effort to fund energy assessment studies and help finance the purchase of data center equipment. The state is trying to convince data centers in the metropolitan New York City area to either revamp their existing data centers to make them more energy efficient, or if they do decide to move, to opt for locations in upstate New York where hydroelectric power is plentiful. New York, through the liberal usage of incentives, recently convinced Yahoo to build a data center in upstate New York.

According to Frank Murray, CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that is overseeing the $10 million program, the state has made a commitment to reduce energy consumption 15 percent by 2015. A big part of that effort is going to be focused on data centers not only because of the amount of energy they consume, but the economic issues associated with retaining existing data centers and attracting new ones to the state of New York.

Advanced Micro Devices has pledged to lend some technical expertise to help NYSERDA conduct energy assessments on their data centers, obviously with an eye toward promoting the adoption of AMD processors.

At the end of the day, data centers are just like any other industry. As more states, regions and countries become economically dependent on data centers, we'll see more wheeling and dealing to hold onto as many of them-and the jobs of those that staff them-as possible.

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