We use a number of data centers of which the three variables are always carriers, available space and available power. When a data center is built out, it’s just like a building a hotel: a huge investment with the hope of significant returns which often take years to materialize.
The success is based on attracting carriers to locate equipment in a facility and then, finding customers to locate there as well.
When making any long term investments, best guesses about the future must be made. One of those guesses is on power consumption and the amount of utility power to obtain. There are also local fire codes that can limit the amount of power a facility can use.
All equipment draws power and as Moore’s Law marches on with the increase of transistors on a processor, it therefore creates heat. The popularity of multi-core CPUs and blade servers are also increasing power consumption much faster than expected. As much as 40% of a datacenter’s power consumption is in cooling, meaning that those assumptions are thrown off kilter.
Since power is less a variable and more a limit, the demand on the power will go up as data centers fill up. Supply stays the same and from an economics standpoint, that means that data centers will increase the price as high as they can for power. Other environmental factors are also in play, all causing some customers to look more at the spokes of the networks rather than hubs to keep costs the same at the expense of latency.
We have seen a number of data centers with power costs go up in the last six months pretty quick. There has also been a mad dash to buy up power in a center, but it’s only going to get worse.
What it means for us is that we have to work harder to locate our equipment and place services to reduce latency and remove points of failure. Planned expansions will have to take place elsewhere, we have to lean on vendors more and come up with more clever and economical ways of delivering our services. It’s a growing problem but just something to plan around.
More importantly, what does this mean to you? Nothing. It’s our job to worry about.