Category Archives: Emergency power system

Cloud Data Centers in Rural Locations — Gobbling Electricity, Throwing Their Weight Around

Very interesting in-depth article in the New York Times today on the sprawling, electricity-hungry data centers spawned by cloud computing.

Internet-based industries have honed a reputation for sleek, clean convenience based on the magic they deliver to screens everywhere. At the heart of every Internet enterprise are data centers, which have become more sprawling and ubiquitous as the amount of stored information explodes, sprouting in community after community.

the gee-whiz factor of such a prominent high-tech neighbor wore off quickly. First, a citizens group initiated a legal challenge over pollution from some of nearly 40 giant diesel generators that Microsoft’s facility — near an elementary school — is allowed to use for backup power.

Then came a showdown late last year between the utility and Microsoft, whose hardball tactics shocked some local officials.

These data centers are apparently not always good neighbors, and of course as they are there to serve our cloud needs we’re all complicity to some degree.

AWS Outage Postmortum: “the generators did not pick up the load”

Amazon has provided their take on how the big derecho storm that hit the Eastern US (and still leaves millions without power during a heat wave) brought down one of their data centers. Basically it was “hardware failure” — in this case a couple of emergency generators.

In the single datacenter that did not successfully transfer to the generator backup, all servers continued to operate normally on Uninterruptable Power Supply (“UPS”) power. As onsite personnel worked to stabilize the primary and backup power generators, the UPS systems were depleting and servers began losing power at 8:04pm PDT.

Read the AWS statement for more detail.