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Digital Britain In Jeopardy As Power Houses Go Abroad

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http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busi...icle6728266.ece

Government plans to make Britain a world leader in the digital economy are under threat because high electricity prices are forcing companies to locate power-hungry data centres in other countries.

Under the Government’s Digital Britain report, published last month, every British home and business will have a minimum 2MB broadband link. However, Derek Webster, associate director of McBains Cooper, a building consultancy, said that British electricity prices, which are the third highest in Europe, are forcing developers to build the infrastructure needed for these plans in countries such as France, potentially undermining UK competitiveness.

“The main issue is power, power and more power,†he said. “Digital Britain will need massive data-centre capacity to accommodate what the Government is planning, but the average data centre uses as much power ... as a city the size of Leicester.â€

Mr Webster said that capacity constraints on Britain’s electricity network, particularly in London and the South East, meant that it was often difficult to strike long-term power contracts with suppliers such as EDF Energy, E.ON and RWE.

The Greater London Authority is to discuss the problem on Wednesday. Some companies, including Yahoo!, have already switched their European headquarters from London to the Continent, citing high costs and a lack of the infrastructure needed to support their businesses. Santander, the Spanish banking group, recently scrapped plans to locate a big European data centre in London, opting instead for a cheaper site in Madrid.

“Ironically, Digital Britain may end up with its major organs being based in France, Germany, Sweden or Switzerland, because of power, cost and availability,†Mr Webster said. This meant, he added, that UK companies could miss lucrative opportunities to build, equip and service these facilities.

However, a more worrying result of outsourcing Britain’s data and processing needs to other countries concerns the competitiveness of the economy. More and more British companies depend on rapid communication between computers and fast access to data, but there is not enough high-capacity fibre-optic cable to support this.

We don't need a low carbon economy we need a low cost economy.

And the govt thinks that adding the UK energy bill to pay for green energy will help. :blink::blink:

Yet another example of Labour incompetence.

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Oh dear, how much bolux can you put into one propaganda piece?

The problem with our power infrastructure is underinvestment, as low consumer prices was the only goal permitted to the industry. It's playing catchup with the rest of Europe that's going to cost in future, and the longer we stay stuck on carbon, the worse it gets.

[edit]

Damn, missed the subject of the thread. Speaking as someone who has run servers since 1997, I can tell you exactly what affects the economics of it. In the early days, the US was the only choice, as bandwidth costs were prohibitive everywhere else (that's because the 'merkins built their infrastructure first - we had to play catchup). Now there's no longer a problem with running it in the UK, and we have some very big and successful data centres, with the expectation they'll become more profitable as commercial rents fall.

There are some countries with particular advantages: for example, Iceland has its huge amounts of clean energy. Apart from that, the main advantage goes to countries like the Nordics and Korea, where the network infrastructure is a couple of generations ahead of us: for example, my Norwegian colleague had 20Mb fibre into his remote arctic home while I was still struggling with 64Kb small-business ISDN at a prohibitive price. Again, the issue here is catchup.

[edit] - highlight catchup

Edited by porca misèria

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Was slightly involved with a new potential data centre project in London, an area which already has a lot of data centres, but the problem is you can't get the power density. Various excuses, such as the power is required for growing residential and even the Olympics! They are still building flats and houses however.

Also hosting costs in the US and Europe are far lower than UK.

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Was slightly involved with a new potential data centre project in London, an area which already has a lot of data centres, but the problem is you can't get the power density. Various excuses, such as the power is required for growing residential and even the Olympics! They are still building flats and houses however.

Aaargh ... another thing I forgot to mention. But I did say underinvestment in our infrastructure due to focussing on consumer prices, which is the cause of that lack of power.

Also hosting costs in the US and Europe are far lower than UK.

Doesn't really seem like that any more, but maybe that's 'cos I recollect a time when the difference was about two orders of magnitude, and it's trivial now by comparison. Falling commercial rents should improve it further.

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http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busi...icle6728266.ece

We don't need a low carbon economy we need a low cost economy.

And the govt thinks that adding the UK energy bill to pay for green energy will help. :blink::blink:

Yet another example of Labour incompetence.

Shock news - Spanish bank decides to site data centre in.... Spain! Perhaps tax breaks and patriotism had more to do with their decision than the size of the nearest sub-station?

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Was slightly involved with a new potential data centre project in London, an area which already has a lot of data centres, but the problem is you can't get the power density. Various excuses, such as the power is required for growing residential and even the Olympics! They are still building flats and houses however.

Also hosting costs in the US and Europe are far lower than UK.

What sort of power do these centres draw?

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Doesn't really seem like that any more, but maybe that's 'cos I recollect a time when the difference was about two orders of magnitude, and it's trivial now by comparison. Falling commercial rents should improve it further.

Hmm a full rack in Dallas is about $700 a month with 20 Amps of power. Struggle to get full rack colocation in London (within the M25) for less £1000 per month. Also US transit might still be cheaper too, though I've not compared it for a while. Also how much would your "intelligent hands" pay for a house in Dallas, relative to London? <_<

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Could they not do a deal with a big building?

Instead of the building paying to heat itself, it uses the excess heat from the data centre. The building would probably pay 3p per kWh and perhaps more if it is seen as “greenâ€.

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But it's OK, the free market will provide solutions. :lol:

It is providing a solution and that is to build it away from the uk. What is wrong with that?

And the free market didn’t make electricity expensive here. It was stupid government regulations.

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The one that Santander was planning was meant to use as much elecy as Leicester.

Seems it has a population of 285,000 so the data centre would have consumed some 285 megawatts?? (uk is about 60GW power amongst 60m)

Wow that is a huge figure.

What exactly is a data enter?

I though it was servers and hard drives?

What is using so much power?

It is enough to power the equivalent of 1 million average PCs!!!

To give you all an idea, if the data centre did in fact consume 285MW of power it would use just a tad under £250m a year in electricity at retail prices!!!

for every penny cheaper electricity is they would save £25m a year!

Although I think the “as much energy as Leicester†is probably wrong.

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Seems it has a population of 285,000 so the data centre would have consumed some 285 megawatts?? (uk is about 60GW power amongst 60m)

Wow that is a huge figure.

What exactly is a data enter?

I though it was servers and hard drives?

What is using so much power?

It is enough to power the equivalent of 1 million average PCs!!!

To give you all an idea, if the data centre did in fact consume 285MW of power it would use just a tad under £250m a year in electricity at retail prices!!!

for every penny cheaper electricity is they would save £25m a year!

Although I think the “as much energy as Leicester†is probably wrong.

here is one of the biggest datacentres in London (Telehouse) based in Docklands.

http://www.telehouse.net/en/colocation/colocation-facilities

A lot of power is consumed cooling down the data centre (aircon) as well as running the servers and network gear. Data centres also require N+1 connectivity and power. Redundancy in other words. London is of course a major network hub, which is why the major DC's tended to get built there, but there DC's scattered around the UK.

According to Hostgator, a popular US web host, a server produces the same emissions as a 15 mpg SUV

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Santander, the Spanish banking group, recently scrapped plans to locate a big European data centre in London, opting instead for a cheaper site in Madrid.

Hala Madrid! The work created in Madrid can go to Real Madrid fans and thus they can pay for the shirt sales to finance the Ronaldo transfer.

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Could they not do a deal with a big building?

Instead of the building paying to heat itself, it uses the excess heat from the data centre. The building would probably pay 3p per kWh and perhaps more if it is seen as “greenâ€.

Similar to your idea..

The partnership will see Telehouse West save up to 1,110 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and provide up to nine megawatts of power for the local neighbourhood. The disposal of waste heat from cooling systems is one of the most significant sustainability issues associated with data storage. This will be the first time a heat export strategy has been introduced in the UK for this type of data center facility.

http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/ME2/dirm...192AFD30423EC44

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It is providing a solution and that is to build it away from the uk. What is wrong with that?

And the free market didn’t make electricity expensive here. It was stupid government regulations.

That's my point. The so called free market isn't free at all if power generating capacity is mostly state owned as it is on the continent. How are they able to keep prices so low? Has demand fallen or do they just keep prices artificially low by cross-subsidising.

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Could they not do a deal with a big building?

Instead of the building paying to heat itself, it uses the excess heat from the data centre. The building would probably pay 3p per kWh and perhaps more if it is seen as “greenâ€.

It happens - but nowhere near often enough.

I'd love to see the industry take a lead: http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/p...ing-waste-heat/

And consumers should demand energy-efficient devices: http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/w...next-mobile-pc/

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here is one of the biggest datacentres in London (Telehouse) based in Docklands.

http://www.telehouse.net/en/colocation/colocation-facilities

A lot of power is consumed cooling down the data centre (aircon) as well as running the servers and network gear. Data centres also require N+1 connectivity and power. Redundancy in other words. London is of course a major network hub, which is why the major DC's tended to get built there, but there DC's scattered around the UK.

According to Hostgator, a popular US web host, a server produces the same emissions as a 15 mpg SUV

Thats right you spend a fortune heating them up and another fortune cooling them down.

I am old enough to remember water cooled mainframes (yes plumbers were once a key part of IT) and this technology might make a come back.

http://www.infoworld.com/d/hardware/ibm-ey...datacenters-311

You never know they might even use the hot water to heat other parts of the building

BTW when the AC fails you would be surprised ay how quickly the servers over heat. Fortunately, they usually turn themselves off before any major damage is done.

Edited by stenosis

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Low carbon economy = impovershed country. Eg.. Africa or Pakistan are low carbon economies. Which the super rich and government leaders can't wait to get to. Everyone will be dirt poor, except them.

Nations' wealth are built on high power operations like data centers are just the 21st century equivalent of steel mills and manufacturing plants. They need tremendous amounts of cheap energy, or they simply relocate to places that have that.

Edited by aa3

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