News From The Future: Heating Homes With “Data Furnaces”… Harry writes -
Rather than build server farms that produce a lot of waster heat, why not have distributed Data Furnaces, that heat home and offices at the same time as providing cloud computing?
I was reading an Asimov Sci Fi short story recently and was chuckling about the fact that he had the computer as a huge central machine in a building with huge power needs and cooling by the gallon. Of course he got that wrong how could have have possibly foreseen our tiny personal computer revolution…. and then I remembered the data centre. Huge buildings with not one machine but thousands all eating power and needing even more power to keep the whole thing cool. Perhaps Asimov was right after all!
A new paper from Microsoft Research suggest a radical but slightly mad scheme for dealing with some of the more basic problems of the data centre. To put the problem into perspective it is worth mentioning the estimated 61 Billion kWh of electricity (3% of total consumption in the U.S) that servers consumed in 2006.