Data Centers; Powering the Web
East Coast Data Centers
The amount of power East Coast data centers use to keep dedicated servers running and cooling is sky high. A data center’s daily cost will play a large part in this. According to the US Department of Energy, as little as 15% of the originating energy sources is actually used for the equipment used within a data center. Most, however, use around half of all energy on cooling equipment alone while the rest is used on the dedicated server hosting operations and tasks.
Data center energy requirements have more than doubled since 2001. What many web hosting providers are doing in order to lower costs and help lessen the strain on the environment is:
- simply removing unused servers
- virtualization which can help significantly on idle time
- replacing older servers with newer more energy efficient servers
- improving energy efficiency via infrastructure with better airflow management via
- better fans and chillers
- and/or free cooling such as building data centers in cooler climates.
The new data center located in Prineville, Oregon is a good example of this is. Facebook and Apple have their new data centers located here providing a very low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) This is due to cooler and less volatile temperature variations. (Taxes were also a big incentive for the two companies to move to Prineville as Oregon has no sales tax). Having the option to use cool outside air from Mother Nature to keep an entire building cool from overheating dedicated servers can provide a huge amount of savings. Why not located data centers in places such as Greenland for example? Where are the fiberoptic connections? Fast and redundant connections are vital in the daily operations of any data center. Hiring qualified staff to live and work in such climates would indeed also be a challenge.
Mother Nature and Low Operation Costs
A lot of east coast data centers can encounter trouble via storms in that part of the country, however, East Coast data centers are still in high demand because
- they are not on any fault lines, aka earthquakes so are presumed a safe bet for uptime and reliability
- are well connected to the Internet via high-speed fiber-optic connections.
Another popular location is Texas which does not encounter natural disasters. However, cooling costs can run high as the temperature in that part of the country is very hot. However, land and operating costs (taxes) in southern and central parts of the U.S.A. are at times considerably cheaper. Hence the reason for the still popular demand for data centers in that area. Cheap power is very high on the list on deciding where to build any new data center within the United States.
The main deciding factors to building a data center and housing dedicated servers are:
- creating a balance between natural disasters
- operating costs
- fast redundant connections
In some cases, businesses do not have much of a choice in deciding a location to use. This could be due to latency needing to be as low as possible. Companies that may focus on this aspect greatly are traders on exchanges or game servers. Sometimes it can simply be that a company wants to be nearby a data center they are co-locating as the “hands and eyes” option is important to them. This way they can just pay a visit. So clients on the East coast in America will want to look at East Coast data centers.
What to look for in a data center
Every data center must have backup power. Diesel-fueled generators or UPS ensure power is provided to the entire building 24 hours a day 7 day a week. Better yet, finding out how long a data center can run on backup power is important to know.
Along with power security, a data center must be able to provide bandwidth and traffic that can fluctuate. Traffic spikes will be unpredictable and being able to handle spikes in traffic requirements is vital.
A data center must also have a strong Service Level Agreement that states in an event of hardware or network failure what takes places to resolve the downtime and if/when the hardware is replaced. A good indicator of dedicated server network uptime is an APS350 or higher certification.
24/7/365 support and security plays a big part in hosting with a data center. If you are accessing your dedicated servers remotely you want to be sure security is always in order. Any support requiring hands-on access should be available at any time of the day. If you cannot access a server remotely this is vital. An alternative or backups solution to this could be to see if the data center offers KVM units or at least remote reboot ports. Some dedicated servers such as the Intel Xeon E3-1230 3.3Ghz QC have Supermicro IPMI come with these features already.
Last but not least, any data center must be financially stable and secure. This should include the history of the data center and how long it has been operating. If it goes under, you don’t want to be in the middle of the turmoil trying to get your servers or data out of there. Promises and verbiage will not make up for any current lawsuits or financial trouble. If the data center is new is it backed by strong finances or are there other data centers built by the same company with good records?