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Why Waste Servers' Heat? 204

Posted by timothy
from the because-heat-makes-us-murderous dept.
mikejuk writes "A new paper from Microsoft Research (PDF) suggests a radical but slightly mad scheme for dealing with some of the more basic problems of the data center. Rather than build server farms that produce a lot of waste heat, why not have distributed Data Furnaces, that heat home and offices at the same time as providing cloud computing? This is a serious suggestion and they provide facts and figures to make it all seem viable. So when it gets cold all you have to do is turn up the number crunching ..."
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Why Waste Servers' Heat?

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  • Not new. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:33AM (#36856162)

    This isn't a new idea. Some buildings like this already and IIRC IBM also marked this as one of their next 5 in 5.

  • What a novel idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:34AM (#36856164) Homepage Journal

    Nobody's ever thought of that before. I thought this "paper" was going to have some kind of design for a way to do it or something. Actually, recently I've been thinking about the way some barns are constructed. Where they have have windows at the apex of the roof. I guess that channels the heat up and lets it out right? Is it possible to put turbines up there that are driven by heat?

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:19AM (#36856386) Homepage
    Why limit the conversation to just servers, when this occurs everywhere in common life?

    Why does my refrigerator take heat out of the inside, and dump it into my house - requiring my A/C to then take it and again put it outside?

    Why does my A/C in a house take all the heat and discharge it outside into the atmosphere, which meanwhile a pool heater is running 5 feet away using energy to generate more heat for the pool?

    Why do people call incandescent light bulbs "energy wasters", when then can (in the cooler months) defray the work needed to be done by a household heating unit?

    Why does the Pizza place down the street run their heater in the winter yet has these giant metal exhaust ducts running from their pizza ovens, venting heat to the outside world? (Why no fins/blowers on these ducts to disperse heat into the pizza-joint?)

    The point is - people think of heating and cooling on a "unit" basis - and not on a systemic basis of an overall building - or even area. HVAC systems in buildings get this - sort of - they are not single machines - but a system of different, interconnected machines which are each interconnected, performing different tasks - sort of like organs in a human body. This approach needs to be thought of everywhere where cooling is required, and/or heat is generated.

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:50AM (#36856606) Homepage
    Still, it has always stricken me as peculiar that in the wintertime people spend energy to heat the kitchen up to 20-25 C, and inside it there is a little fridge working as hard as it can to bring the temperature back to exactly the same value as outside.
    Not to mention that this refrigerator is typically located just next to the electric cooker...

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