The cloud and its impact on the environment
This is the second article in a New York Times series about the physical structures that make up the cloud, and their impact on our environment.It raises even more interesting questions and challenges for public utilities, banks and government departments when they consider e-billing as an option.
Submitted by: Vince Collins
This article, written by James Glanz, originally appeared on the New York Times website.
Over the last few years, Quincy has become an unlikely technology outpost, with five data centers and a sixth under construction. Far from the software meccas of Northern California or Seattle, Quincy has barely 6,900 residents, two hardware stores, two supermarkets, no movie theater and a main drag, State Route 28, whose largest buildings are mostly food packers and processors. Its tallest building is a grain elevator.
“A farming community in the middle of a desert,” said Warren Morgan, the president of Double Diamond Fruit.
The remarkable scale of the Quincy data centers, and their power demands, have made this town something of a test tube for studying the planet’s exploding need to house and process digital information.
The data centers, which include Yahoo and Dell facilities, wound up in Quincy by way of the Columbia. The river flows 1,200 miles from the mountains of British Columbia to the spectacular gorge between Oregon and Washington, where the water crashes into the Pacific Ocean.
Along the way, about a dozen large hydroelectric dams tame the river, providing irrigation for farms and the cheap, plentiful power that has become a magnet for large agricultural operations and heavy industries like aluminum, steel, paper and chemical plants.
When Microsoft was searching the country for a location for its new installation, the Grant County Public Utility District, which owns two of the dams, says it offered the company rates that would range from 2.5 cents to 3.8 cents per kilowatt-hour in its first five years — far below the national industrial average of 6 cents to 7 cents, according to analysis based on federal figures by the Electric Power Research Institute. The power from dams is also highly reliable, a critical factor for data centers, which can crash with the slightest interruption.
This article is accompanied by an excellent video, Into the Cloud.
View it by following this link. http://www.twosides.info/Into-The-Cloud
Read the extended article by following the link to the New York Times site.