Data Center Placement – Consider National Borders With Unique Privacy Laws and Regulation

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

At the recent Data Centres Europe 2012 conference, Aaron Davis, CMO of Schneider Electric gave a keynote address about energy and the issues faced by the data center industry as data and services proliferate around the globe. Here is part two of this three part interview series with Davis.

Traditionally there’s been conflict in the demand for energy resources; data centers have tended to be situated where power converges – in cities or “urban contexts” – and therefore have to compete with office, retail and residential requirements for energy resources. As a case in point, there was considerable publicity surrounding the competition for power between London’s data centers and the Olympic Park development. Recently some data center operators have chosen to place their facilities closer to where power is generated (e.g., Next Generation Data in Wales) or in some cases where a large proportion of free cooling is available (e.g., Google data center in Hamina, Finland) (cooling IT equipment is one of the largest operational costs for any data center).

“There’s been a change of attitude” says Davis. “Even a few years ago the concept of ‘server huggers’ was a little bit of a joke. But colos and the people in charge of corporate data center wanted to be able to see them and visit them… that really kept a lot of data center capacity in high cost areas. Subsequent to that there’s been the idea of moving to places where there’s free cooling, or let’s move to places where there’s free hydro [electric power]… and that will continue because there are very real benefits in doing so.”

“But I think that one of the phenomena that’s creeping into people’s minds are the concepts around data; who owns data, data security and its impact upon consumers. Jurisdiction; data in one country might be treated completely differently to data in another country. Nexus issues related to e-commerce and tax. All of these are putting a little bit of a damper on the concept that we can go build data centers anywhere…”

“The reality is a user may experience a cloud, but there will still be a notion or national borders around that cloud driven by privacy laws and regulation – these are very real issues,” he said.

To see commentary on the rest of this video, select part one  of the interview.

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