“It sells computing capacity to corporate clients, generates heat with the computers… and then finds ways of channelling off the heat to use as central heating…His ingenious software ensures that when users turn up the thermostat, enough extra computation is rustled up from corporate clients to increase the emitted heat.“
I was interviewed by Enterprise Management 360 at the cloud world forum – the podcast of the interview is now available on their site:
This Guardian article touches upon something I have been complaining about for a long time. When you ran an application on your laptop which used lots of power you felt it – the laptop gets hot and burns your trousers. When you use a cloud service that power is hidden in a data-centre somewhere else and you will never know the environmental damage caused. While cloud providers often argue their data-centres are cleaner and greener than old ones, the problem is that because of there services we are using them for new things we did not do a few years ago – like social media!
Dell have produced a dongle which plugs into monitors HDMI port and connects to Bluetooth peripherals (keyboard/mouse..) and WiFi While it is a basic Android machine, its value is in automatically providing a virtualized PC environment from Dell’s Wyse data-centre.
Imagine dispensing with all the PCs in an office and simply having monitors with a dongle attached and leaving the PC maintenance to Dell in the cloud.
Obviously some will argue this is a greener option (yes if the Dell Cloud is multiplexing to provide the virtualized environments and using efficient machines); an easier option (not necessarily- since you are adding another layer of hardware in the mix – though you are outsourcing PC desktop maintenance to Dell); a cheaper option (who knows – that will very much depend on the service charges going forward – PCs aren’t exactly expensive these days in hardware terms – only in software and maintenance terms).
There is something about seeing physical data-centres that reminds us (and by us I mean those of us who think about cloud) that there is a physicality to this cloud… it is materially present if hidden from view.
If you are more interested in this physicality of the cloud read Andrew Blum’s excellent introduction “Tubes” – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tubes-Behind-Scenes-at-Internet/dp/0670918989
The report makes interesting reading for anyone concerned about the hidden and less obvious environmental impact of cloud services. While companies can see the electricity bill of their data-centre (and may have to report it), their use of Cloud Services means the electricity bill is hidden within service charges.
Once you move to the cloud you can locate your data-center anywhere where network connectivity is available. Given the cost of powering and cooling data-centers is significant it makes sense to find somewhere with green electricity and lots of available cooling – but also with a stable society and reasonable laws. Iceland is a good candidate.
Hence it is unsurprising to see the following from the Register:
This cable will provide “Iceland with the required connectivity to support the anticipated explosive growth of low cost, 100% carbon free, renewable energy powered data centres, in which the Wellcome Trust, has a major investment,” said EA president Greg Varisco.