Lost in the quest for more data is the ever increasing cost of building and cooling server farms. A great article in Business Week proposes the idea of building a massive server farm in a small fishing village 35 minutes south of Reykjavik, Iceland. The location is ideal, because it has a lot of vacant land, it is naturally cold (Iceland), and it has access to cheap geothermal energy. The graphic below shows how servers are cooled, and how much the energy cost of cooling them has increased in recent years.
The demand for more server capacity will continue to grow exponentially as both the number of web users grow, and the data becomes more complex. Although energy costs are still relatively small, they have the potential to spiral out of control. Am I the only one who sees the Great Canadian North as the possible future server farm capital of the world? There is endless, cheap, land, plenty of wind for power, and it’s naturally very cold. However, Siberia may give it a great run for its money.
Do people see this as a problem in the future, or will more efficient alternatives replace the concept of the server farm for our ever-increasing data needs?