Google, Microsoft, Amazon Protest Data Center Standard

    April 12, 2010

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.