What are two of the biggest challenges facing data centers right now? They’re perhaps not the ones you’re thinking of, but power and cost are real limiting factors to the growth of online everything. Some of the biggest server farms are sited not for the convenience of staff commutes or proximity to major businesses, but out in the boonies away from everything. Actually, not away from everything. What they want to be close to is huge sources of reliable power.
They say that information is power. That’s true in more ways than one. Information technology is power hungry. It takes massive quantities of kilowatts to search databases and crunch numbers, at least for the size of the data sets and the speed that we demand. Servers are machines that turn electricity into heat in the process of computing. A couple of high performance PCs can keep a small office toasty warm. Tens of thousands of rack mounted servers can cook anything nearby, if not for the air conditioning. Considering practical efficiencies of energy conversion, it can take one to two watts of electricity for cooling for every watt consumed by a server.
Data centers are power hungry monsters that have come on the scene just as we’re starting to wonder how we’re going to generate more power. The economic downturn has given us something of a reprieve in the last couple of years, but energy shortages will be back again sooner than any of us dare think. Then we’re faced with a choice of trashing the environment with coal and risking our security by dependence on foreign gas and oil, or waiting decades for additional nuclear reactors to come online. We could just give up and outsource our data center needs to other countries, but then what have we got left?
Forget the doomsday scenario. There’s a much better option and it’s in place now. It’s called green energy. Once ridiculed, both solar and wind are now serious sources of cost competitive electricity. Major solar farms are under construction in California. Windmill farms are sprouting up just about anywhere there is a steady breeze. One of the biggest wind initiatives is underway in Texas, the oil state. What do Texans know that the rest of us better figure out pretty soon? Oil is yesterday’s news. The new oil is wind.
HostGator has figured this out. They’re ahead of the curve in ensuring a reliable source of the power they need and reducing the cost of that power as well. The source is Texas wind energy. HostGator buys theirs through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to a Texas windfarm in the amount of 4,009 RECs. Each REC represents 1 megawatt of power, so you get an idea of the scale we’re talking about.
But HostGator doesn’t stop there. They believe in green energy so much that they’ve purchased RECs for 130% of the electricity used to power and cool all of their hosting servers. They’ve also addressed the consumption issue by increasing the electrical efficiency of the servers they use by 36%. That has a multiplier effect in that less power hungry servers also need less cooling. Smart, very smart.
The good news is that even if your business isn’t strategically located near a source of green energy or you can’t afford the capital expense of generating your own solar or wind power, you can still have green website hosting through HostGator. They already host over 4,000,000 domains representing about 1% of the world’s Internet traffic. That includes our own T1 Rex, Ether Rabbit and MPLS Networks Today sites, among others. What’s more, we get a terrific deal on reseller hosting for multiple sites. It actually costs less to get ahead of the game with HostGator than to stay stuck in the past with many conventional hosting services. Clearly, HostGator has this figured out.