26
Jan
12

Distributed Cooling Through Distributed Process?

A coworker of mine forwarded an article to me about Google’s data center in Finland:

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/01/google-finland/

It’s a great read about a new facility that uses sea water that from the pictures appears to make a direct heat exchange with their chilled water system rather than using chillers.  What is more fascinating to me though is the use of a software platform called ‘Spanner’.  The article discusses a data center that Google operates in Belgium where the temperatures are mild, and they seldom need expensive amounts of cooling.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned how having multiple sites and multi-facility redundancy have eliminated the need for massive CapEx on any one facility for expensive backup power systems.  This scheme by Google shifts processes to another facility when the cooling bill gets too high, effectively using the planet as a kind of massive economizer.  There is always cooling available somewhere around the world.  Of course, I have no doubt that this scheme carries costs.  There is a reason why Google chose to locate a Data Center in Belgium (probably multiple reasons), and shifting a process temporarily might result in slightly less efficient or expedient processes due to transfer time and possibly latency across high speed networks.  

But still, it showcases the classic economic principle of achieving an economy of scale.  They grow more efficient with each facility they build.  Simply amazing.

 

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