Data centers, accusations and the fallout

In a series of articles this week, the New York Times refused to pull punches in exposing the dirty secrets of the data center industry as wasteful power users who violate air quality laws and strong-arm overmatched small towns with their might and influence.

There's been no shortage of backlash from tech pundits. To highlight a few, here are responses from: Wired, Slate, Triple Pundit, Slashdot, Datacenter Knowledge and even a 5000-word treatise from Diego Doval.

Microsoft has countered saying the article fails to "recognize that not all data centers are created equal, nor are the operations and software applications running inside those data centers equally utilized."

GigaOm's Katie Fehrenbacher suggests the reporting is "from a time machine" and Dan Woods from Forbes called the series a "sloppy failure." He notes that while the series names Amazon, Facebook and Google, many of the numbers it cites actually come from "IT data centers, not from the state-of-the-art-data centers run by the Internet companies."

Our own contributor Kathrin Winkler with EMC writes about how the articles neglect to mention what the data center industry is doing to be more efficient. She says "if the auto industry had gotten efficient as quickly as the IT industry in the last 40 years, we'd be getting 450,000 miles to the gallon."

Given the prominent spotlight, we thought it appropriate to run through recent GreenBiz coverage on data centers, cloud computing and energy efficiency. 

Google, to be sure, is leading the way in investing in clean energy and touting its strategies for highly efficient data center operations.

For its part, Facebook, unveiled data center secrets with a major new initiative designed to share server and data center designs with rivals. The Open Compute Project, dedicated to building the "most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost," releases open hardware data from a new center in Oregon, which the company says uses 38 percent less power than existing server farms.

The Facebook facility in Oregon earned LEED certifications, as did a Yahoo site in Nebraska and a sprawling 990,000-square-foot site for a QTS data center in Atlanta, considered the second largest data center in the world.

Next page: eBay and Bloom Energy team up on fuel cell technology for data centers

Electric night photo by Bruce Rolff via Shutterstock