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China Data Storage Power The Internet

China's Green Data Center Plans 45

Posted by timothy
from the ho-ho-ho-green-giant dept.
itwbennett writes "It's no surprise that China's internet-using population is growing fast. And so it's also no surprise that the country is planning to build new data centers by the dozen. What is surprising, at least to those of us who expect to read stories about widespread pollution in China, is that China is working with both The Green Grid and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop standards for energy performance."
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China's Green Data Center Plans

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  • Not that suprising (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    China is the largest investor in renewable energy of any country in the world.

    • FTFY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alfredos (1694270) on Monday January 02, 2012 @04:15AM (#38561784)
      China is the largest investor in renewable energy of any country in the world.[citation needed]
    • by vought (160908) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:18AM (#38561970)

      China is the largest investor in renewable energy of any country in the world.

      China is also the largest provider of toxic adulterants in exports. They build factories where people are given 15-minute breaks twice a day to urinate and defecate, and four hours to sleep. Western companies make a show of trying to police these factories, but when it comes down to brass tacks, there are simply too many factories, too many bodies, and not enough oversight for any of it to make a lot of difference. The solution to factory suicides in China? Bars on the windows.

      Because we're apparently now a nation that simply consumes things made elsewhere - mostly China, it seems at times - it's easiest to just trust them when it comes to things like baby formula (melamine), pet food (more melamine), drywall (formaldehyde and H2S), paint on toys (lead)....and when your relatives get sick because they can't breathe due to the toxic wallboard, well, there's no one to sue for recovery of lost money, time, and health. Oh, well!

      The Chinese culture does not define trust the same way Western societies do. Most of their factories are owned by former military generals. The standards being developed will come with lots of access to LBNL's own methodologies, networks, people, and other trusted entities, which China will be happy to use for their own benefit.

      Trust me on this.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        They build factories where people are given 15-minute breaks twice a day to urinate and defecate, and four hours to sleep.

        A human being cannot live like that, their workers would simply fall asleep at their jobs. Not very good for productivity. I'm not saying China doesn't have some really awful factories, but making stuff up isn't very helpful to the debate.

        The government has been clamping down hard on factories that have really poor conditions. They have to, otherwise big western companies wouldn't do manufacturing there and would instead go to India or Africa or South America or Eastern Europe.

        there are simply too many factories, too many bodies, and not enough oversight for any of it to make a lot of difference.

        Are you kidding? The Chinese g

        • http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2012/01/01/target-recalls-circo-childrens-travel-cases-due-to-violation-of-lead-paint-standard/ [clarksvilleonline.com]

          So this didn't come from china and have lead paint ? How insightful of you.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          They build factories where people are given 15-minute breaks twice a day to urinate and defecate, and four hours to sleep.

          A human being cannot live like that, their workers would simply fall asleep at their jobs.

          When they use them up, they send them off to have any non-failing organs harvested in a death van [dailymail.co.uk].

          there are simply too many factories, too many bodies, and not enough oversight for any of it to make a lot of difference.

          Are you kidding? The Chinese government has party members everywhere, and they love to be seen to be doing their jobs. Naturally there is corruption, but we are talking about a government that has managed to introduce a one-child policy and enforce it with much success.

          Having enough warm bodies and fervor to do the job and not having the job done are not contradictory statements. Try again.

          The solution to factory suicides in China? Bars on the windows.

          We do that too in places where we know people might try to kill themselves.

          The difference is that our employees are allowed to quit their jobs and go home.

          it's easiest to just trust them when it comes to things like baby formula (melamine)

          You know those guys were executed for their crimes, right? Talk about corporations being held accountable.

          You know that capital punishment doesn't dissuade criminals, right? There's always someone who thinks they won't get caught. Also, I know that someone was killed, I don't know that it's actually whoever was real

        • but we are talking about a government that has managed to introduce a one-child policy and enforce it with much success.

          Not all that much success. If it were successful, China's population would be undergoing a drastic decline.

          Instead, population is growing at about 0.5% per year. Which is low, but consistent with 2+ children per family, not one. Note that breakeven - the classic ZPG - requires ~2.1 children per family....

      • Most of their factories are owned by former military generals.

        [Huawei? Maybe. "Most"? Citation needed]

        Most of their factories, especially the ones exporting, are owned by Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Hong Konger. And they are the ones

        build factories where people are given 15-minute breaks twice a day to urinate and defecate, and four hours to sleep.

        No matter what conditions the workers are in, most of them are free to leave and find another job, just like if you don't like your boss you can leave and find another job, ever since the economic reform. The problem is that they can't find other good jobs. The labor situation, like most other problems in China, is simply a problem of

  • Meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:47AM (#38561472)

    It will probably end up being lead based paint tinted green with used radiator fluid

  • No mystery here. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mannfred (2543170) <mannfred@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2012 @02:53AM (#38561506)
    Energy performance is especially relevant when faced with high energy costs. From thegreengrid.org's press release: "The Green Grid will help promote the improvement of resource efficiency in business computing throughout China, a country with huge potential for energy efficiency increases."
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:11AM (#38561560) Journal

    From a regulatory standpoint, the most important thing isn't the effectiveness, it's the standards used to gauge effectiveness. If you want the right answer, you have to start by asking the right questions.

    Is datacenter efficiency important? Doesn't appear to be so from where I sit. We host a significant number of servers in a local (Sacramento) colo, and we buy contracts for bandwidth and power. The charges we pay are rather small given the size of our company, the actual power costs are infinitesimal compared to the other costs that we have to do business. I care not a whit about power costs, given that our marginal costs are so low compared to the value we present.

    Is it important? Sure! But in the USA, we have no operational standards for what constitutes "green" data center technologies. If there was an actual standard for DC power, I'd consider buying servers with DC power inputs, etc...

    • by Skapare (16644) on Monday January 02, 2012 @03:40AM (#38561690) Homepage

      You don't have to do DC to be reasonably green. DC still has a number of issues, including safety. And just having DC alone does not make it green (you have to do DC smartly).

      Just being smart about AC as well as the cooling systems can make improvements. For example, run your servers on 208 or 240 volts instead of 120 volts. And if you are building a new data center in North America, get your power from the utility at three phase 416Y/240 volts instead of 208Y/120 volts for the computer room (get separate 208Y/120 volts for the offices where needs for 120 is common). Use lights-out platforming as much as you can (last one out turn out the lights).

      Use UPSes that can switch to "line interactive mode" instead of doing everything in "double conversion". Only extremely sensitive equipment needs double conversion all the time Don't do "whole data center" UPSes because you lose the ability to gradually migrate to greener models over time. About one UPS per rack should be sufficient.

      Split your cooling load across multiple systems so the temperature stays more stable (one giant HVAC causes temperatures to go up and down a lot). Once stable, you can target the temperature at a higher level.

      • by TheLink (130905)

        They can also copy some ideas from Facebook (or others):
        http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/12/facebook-data-center/all/1 [wired.com]
        http://opencompute.org/ [opencompute.org]
        http://opencompute.org/2011/11/17/learning-lessons-at-the-prineville-data-center/ [opencompute.org]

        They'd probably have to modify the air filter/intake sections since in many places the air there is rather dirty. And sometimes it's not just "conventional" pollution but dust/sand blown in from the desert areas

        • by Skapare (16644)

          Not everyone can go to that scale. I'm glad Facebook did, and hope more do. I looked at it a while back for what my job involves. It is not dismissed, but we can't do that right now. As more of that reaches commercial off the shelf markets, we can do more. More mainboards that use a DC voltage coming in mean more opportunity to reduce the conversion steps that waste the most power. But for various reasons I would never do DC above 48 volts. I have determined that the likely optimal voltage for poweri

      • by mcrbids (148650)

        I guess you missed the point that as a small(ish) hosting provider, I don't care at all about 240 volt power systems! I have small cage with a few 42u racks to manage, and companies approximately this size and smaller represent a very significant percent of the colo marketplace, perhaps even a majority of the colo marketplace.

        At this size and scale, we don't care about green, we care about whether or not it works. Even if we were to cut 75% of the power usage, the money saved would pale compared to our othe

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Monetary cost is one thing... efficiency, sustainability, availability and environmental impact are another. The purpose of green energy isn't to save money (in fact, in many industrial applications of sustainable models, implementation and operational monetary costs are higher than the competing and existing models). It's about ensuring longevity by using methods which either integrate with the organic processes of nature, or minimize the impact on said processes by being more efficient and less destructiv

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Monday January 02, 2012 @05:16AM (#38561966)

    Chinese are pragmatic, or at least the government.

    They realize that if they will need to provide a future for 1.x billion people they need to do something about the local environment.

    Climate change appears to be another matter on today's agenda. But, I'm sure that will change too. There are other large pollutors which will be more difficult to change, despite having a better general awareness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The environment has something to do with it ... hey they do sell to the rest of the world. Image is important.

      But another driver is efficiency. Bottom line, if you reduce the inputs to a product it becomes cheaper to produce. Use less energy, use less materials ... and the product cost comes down.

      That's one reason I've been surprised by resistance amongst Western countries to environment and climate treaties. I mean, all they are being asked to do is either substitute energy sources (expensive any way you l

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Then again, I suppose Western countries aren't producing much in the way of product nowadays and don't plan to make their processes more efficient anyway.

        Did you know that Germany exports more than China does? Japan makes a lot of stuff too. Developed economies can make stuff if they want to, they just have to avoid getting into a race to the bottom with places like China and India. Being efficient and meeting consumer demand for greener and more "ethical" (i.e. non-sweatshop made) products is hugely important.

        That is one of the reasons that German is seeking to replace nuclear and much of its fossil energy sources with green ones. Aside from benefiting the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What is a bit worrying is that the common people on the street do not care about pollution. Or at least not enough. I never set a foot in the US, but found that in Europe people clean up their mess. Mostly (some countries are worse). People think about what they throw in the garbage tray and are generally mindful of not using needless amounts of energy.

      Things you will see in China on an everyday basis is:
      - People throwing garbage out of their houses on the street (not my problem attitude).
      - Opening windows

  • surprising? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday January 02, 2012 @08:28AM (#38562506) Homepage Journal

    For whom is that surprising?

    China is huge - four to five times the population of the USA. Any attempt to clean up existing problems while at the same time realising record growth year-after-year is a mean task. So concentrating on making new things future-proof is the best approach. If you are good there, it may turn out that replacing the old, dirty stuff is better than modernizing it.

    And the chinese government, for all the faults it has, is certainly one of the best governments in regards to long-term planning right now. Other than most of the career politicians in the west, they regularily look beyond the next election.

  • I thought 1.4 billion people were polluting and used coal. Now you tell me 1.4 billion people are investing in clean energy data centers. Maybe the 1.4 billion people are being dishonest? Or maybe the 1.4 billion people have really changed for the good? What are we the 320M people in USA supposed to say? We need one answer. Is China good or bad? When apparently good, is it directly good, or alternating?

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