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Google, Microsoft, Amazon Protest Data Center Standard

Companies assert efficiency push is misdirected

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Some of the world’s top tech companies are concerned that their ability to build cost-effective and energy-efficient data centers may be compromised.  Representatives from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and several other outfits have signed a letter protesting a standard established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

The ASHRAE standard is meant to increase data centers’ energy efficiency, and the group of tech corporations opposed to it has no problem with that goal.  The issue, it seems, is that the standard instructs companies how to go about becoming more efficient.  And that it carries some weight, since it’s often incorporated into building codes.

So the open letter explained, "For example, the standard requires data centers to use economizers – systems that use ambient air for cooling. In many cases, economizers are a great way to cool a data center . . . but simply requiring their use doesn’t guarantee an efficient system, and they may not be the best choice.  Future cooling methods may achieve the same or better results without the use of economizers altogether.  An efficiency standard should not prohibit such innovation."

Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Nokia, Dupont Fabros Technology, and the Digital Realty Trust would prefer to just see required levels of efficiency established.

Whether or not they can win this argument may have a significant effect on the companies’ technical capabilities, or at least the amount of money they have to spend in order to achieve certain feats.  We’ll be sure to report any significant developments.

Google, Microsoft, Amazon Protest Data Center Standard
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  • Guest

    This would be a big setback for data center efficiency if there were these overarching prescriptive rules about data centers imposed. Power consumption is going to be a huge factor in the ongoing costs of cloud computing and I guarantee that all those companies are focusing on way to innovate this beyond what is in the guidelines.

  • http://olofmp3.ru/ Classical

    I believe that an overall data center-level cooling system efficiency standard needs to replace the proposed prescriptive approach to allow data center innovation to continue. The standard should set an aggressive target for the maximum amount of energy used by a data center for overhead functions like cooling

  • http://blog.offbeatmammal.com Offbeatmammal

    I’m sure ASHRAE mean well but requiring specific equipment rather than defining parameters for the outcome is simply protectionism for the status quo.

    If they mandate the use of existing equipment and the associated ecosystem all they are doing is ensuring that the current suppliers and installers have less to worry about when it comes to competition from new innovations of ways of working.

    Smart design – physically seperating the cool air intake path from the hot air extract; passive waterflow condunctive cooling; equipment density; modular power supplies / low voltage supply to racks etc are all current solutions to reduce the overall need for a particular device which may or may not be relevant … surely that sort of innovation makes more sense?

    • Guest

      Come on now… How exactly do you know that?

      If I were operating a steel factory and I had reduce the carbon output of production, whose to say I wouldn’t outsource half of production to another nearby factory to meet the total output requirements?

      With virtualization and cloud computing, who to say that anyone can even set a total output requirement and pin it against any single company? They can outsource it can they not?

      I would like some people with real technical understanding of this situation to say something rather than shoot off nouns as if they magically solve the problem.

      Apparently ASHARE is an association of professionals, who most likely deal with energy consumption issues rather than software and advertising related problems daily.

      I think when you said, “Protectionism for the Status Quo”

      I think that’s exactly what this is all about. Meeting the Status Quo with what is available now. Let the innovation happen after it actually comes into existence.

      • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

        And I am no Air Conditioning Engineer, and I am not apart of their association. I’m just curious of Google Data Centers currently house departments of Cooling Engineers…

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