Are data centres worth it?

GDPR

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Ireland has become a hub for data centres in recent years, with tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Apple all setting up major European data storage facilities. The country is seen as an attractive location for the facilities for a range of reasons, including the cool climate, which reduces running costs for heat-generating computers, its connectivity to the US via transatlantic data cables, and a favourable data-protection regime for tech multinationals. And of course, there is a huge demand for such data centres for the storage of information which is likely to increase exponentially with 5G to replace current 4G technology in the coming years.

These data centres are huge and employ relatively few people. For instance one at Tallaght is the size of 3 football fields and employs 30 people, so there is an argument to be made about inefficient use of space relative to the area required. There is a more pressing factor, as highlighted in the image above, they consume vast amounts of electricity and according to EirGrid’s mid-range scenario, 15% of all electricity demand in Ireland will come from data centres by 2026.

Now the thrust of the journal article is that we will fail to meet renewable energy targets and potential EU fines, but I think the more pertinent question, is why should 15% of expensive electricity generated with unpleasant side effects like pollution and impacts on health, be reserved for a specialist industry that produces very little jobs:confused: Is the price of such high tech jobs, as welcome as they may be, far too high using a standard 'bang for your buck' formula, is this an unacceptable example of corporate welfare or is it the right way for the future of high tech jobs and clustering of spin off employment in the knowledge economy from same, for Ireland?

Data centres are making energy demands shoot up in Ireland
 


max99

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Very good points made in your post.. Cork is becoming a hub for these data centres too..

A pure joke, & paying youngsters pocket change to man their phone lines..
 
D

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They have to be built, and that provides lots of jobs - for a while.

Short term thinking is endemic in Irish politics.
 

Mad as Fish

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What the hell is being stored on them anyway? Big data is big brother.
 

Voluntary

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Think about this another way. The data centres buy 15% of Irish produced energy. There's a lot of taxes on this energy I guess which can then go towards other spending. It's a free money. We just need to produce clean energy and sell it with profit to these data centres.

It's a great business to be in.
 

GDPR

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I bet you anything they are hell-holes to work in.

Data-processors are just a new kind of slave.
 

TheMushyStuff

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Well I don't see any issue with this. Other countries allow them, why not us.
Its not like they are getting free electricity. As for the demand, it will rise nevertheless and we just need to move to Renewable energy by 2026.
They are here, they pay taxes and they serve local business too.
 

ger12

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Well I don't see any issue with this. Other countries allow them, why not us.
Its not like they are getting free electricity. As for the demand, it will rise nevertheless and we just need to move to Renewable energy by 2026.
They are here, they pay taxes and they serve local business too.
If Ireland is the subject of heavy EU fines, and these data centres are using a big chunk of energy, who will end up coughing up for breached targets?
 

silverharp

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here is one in action

[video=youtube;fd3kSdu4W7c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd3kSdu4W7c[/video]
 
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Jesus, what's happening? I remember a time when spinning up a watercooled double-sided 5995M would cause the lights at the airport to dim. The mainframe only used three-phase supply. So did the disk farm. The newer CMOS machines almost use a kettle cable. Looks like people should be virtualising on big metal. There's definitely a huge business opportunity there. I can host thirty thousand virtual machines on a low-end IBM box.
 

Northsideman

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I bet you anything they are hell-holes to work in.

Data-processors are just a new kind of slave.
No they're not, nice and clean and just keeping em ticking over and the techs are fairly well paid.
 

GDPR

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I think an argument can be put, get these companies to build the power station to supply it, the upgrades to the electricity network as necessary to connect it to the grid, plus whatever renewable energy source targets, factor in expansion into the design for the area, and you get the true cost for the jobs these centres create.
 

Voluntary

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Local communities can gain too. Data Centres create a lot of waste heat which can be used by local communities as a free heating.

Here's an example:
Apple will return heat generated by Danish data centre to warm up homes - TechCentral.ie

Apple is building a new data centre in Denmark, and it has some interesting ideas on how to power it with renewable energy, while also giving back to the community.

Excess heat generated by the data centre will be captured and returned to the local district’s heating system, which will warm up homes in the community.
 


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