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Power The Internet

An Electricity-Cost-Aware Internet Routing Scheme 88

Al writes "Researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Akamai have developed a network-routing scheme that could save 'internet-scale' companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft million of dollars each year by moving data to locations with the best electricity prices for a particular day. The scheme simply considers both the most efficient routing path for data and the potential cost savings of routing it somewhere farther away. The researchers studied price fluctuations at locations across the country and used data from Akamai caching servers to test the idea out. In the best possible scenario — which would require more efficient servers — they estimate that companies could save as much as 40% on the electricity bills (tens of millions each year). Google already operates at least one datacenter that shuts down when temperatures get too high. Is this the next logical step for internet computing?"
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An Electricity-Cost-Aware Internet Routing Scheme

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  • by BlueKitties ( 1541613 ) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:33AM (#29091641)
    While at first this struck me as an interesting idea, it took me a moment to realize that this is just dynamic (err... at server runtime) outsourcing. So, really, this isn't very amazing. Still, I think this is a good idea for us consumers: it means electricity usages for certain areas can shrink, which could potentially help lower rates for the rest of us. For once, outsourcing might be good for the economy.
  • Smoke and Mirrors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:36AM (#29091697)

    The end result of these sorts of schemes is that large companies will increase local demand and local electricity prices. The big users will get rebates and concessions, while small users, particularly residential customers, will get hosed.

    At the end of the day, once a few large players do this, the benefits will be marginal for them, as electricity costs are mostly driven by peak load.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:42AM (#29091793) Homepage Journal

    You just don't get it.
    Will the savings be passed on to the customer? Yes because the customer is Google, Microsoft, and maybe Amazon.
    What people don't get is that you and I are not Google's, Facebook's, or even Slashdot's customer.
    We are their product.
    Unless you buy ads on those services you are not their customer.
    Amazon is different but I doubt that this will cause a performance hit that you notice or they will not do it. But really folks get a clue. We are Google's customers like a cow is a dairy farmers customer.

  • by ion++ ( 134665 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:52AM (#29091921)

    This is good for wind energy. Wind energy has the problem that it sometimes doesnt blow, and other times it blows too much ;-)

    I have read it is possible to give pretty accurate wind predictions. This could be used to start servers in locations where it blows too much, and stop servers in locations where it doesnt blow.

  • by Stenchwarrior ( 1335051 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:59AM (#29092019)
    So let's say Minneapolis has the cheapest power that day, but then they have more-than-normal consumption rates. Will brown-outs occur or will the power companies not allow the infringing data companies on the grid to keep the indigenous peoples' lights on? It would suck if I lived in town and my power went out because Google wanted to save a few $$.
  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:10AM (#29092173)

    So let's say Minneapolis has the cheapest power that day, but then they have more-than-normal consumption rates.

    This scenario makes no sense. If a utility is experiencing high loads, they will charge *more*, not less. And the higher the load, the more they'll be charging. This scheme directs data center power consumption *away* from heavily loaded utilities, not towards them.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian