A giant datacenter on 800 acres of land in Pryor, Oklahoma, won't start operating until 2010, Google spokesbots now say. The $600 million datacenter was supposed to open early next year, employing 100 people. Local and state officials had bent over backwards to attract Google to the site, even passing a law which made Google's energy bills private, lest competitors determine how efficiently it was running. (Photo by David Jones/GTR Newspapers)
When CityNAP, a San Antonio-based datacenter, opened last year, it bragged about its environmental credentials, such as buying its energy from a wind-power concern. "Sustainability and green business practices make good business sense!" thundered CityNAP president Frank Robles, shown here in the blue shirt, in a press release. Robles should have paid more attention to keeping CityNAP in the black: With assets of $100,000 and $460,000 in debt, CityNAP has filed for bankruptcy. CityNAP is contesting $230,000 in claims from its landlord. It's not easy being green.
In a recently filed patent application, Google details plans to build a "Water-based Datacenter," complete with an array of pontoons to generate electricity from the motion of the ocean. The abundant water could also be used to cool the servers, and power could be further augmented with wind energy. But the real gains aren't greentech, necessarily — in international waters, the company can more profitably invade you privacy free from evil governments and their tyrannical taxes and laws. [USPTO]
Microsoft's thirst for new markets is requiring massive hardware to back up its dreams, especially the ones dealing with clouds. It's adding 10,000 servers a month. At its new Chicago data center, it's using an interesting method for growth. Using server farms self-contained in shipping containers, it stacks and racks them like Legos, swapping out the entire container when the servers fail. Microsoft will open similar data centers in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dublin, Ireland. [News.com]
On August 20, big layoffs are expected in AOL's technology operations. AOL CEO Randy Falco's vision for the Time Warner-owned Internet company: Get rid of all that messy Internet stuff. Madison Avenue, let's do lunch! Stripping AOL down to an ad-sales operation (and a collection of Web properties on which to place ads) requires shedding some of the things AOL was best known for — like hosting large-scale websites. After AOL bought Weblogs Inc., gadget blog Engadget handled Macworld-keynote traffic like a champ. Alas, the server farms are soon to be put out to pasture, if a tipster is correct. Commenter aoltech1 writes:
Because of the cheap electricity that flows alongside the Columbia River, server farms starting popping up next to actual farms in the agricultural regions of eastern Washington and Oregon back in 2006. But that doesn't mean techies with salaries that can afford a brand new McMansion will be flooding into towns like Quincy, Washington — where Grant County's publicly owned power authority offered companies like Microsoft and Yahoo rock-bottom electricity prices and developers built estates like "Serenata" on spec.
Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told employees, will spend $200 million on capital expenditures this year. But fear not! That oversized budget, funded by Microsoft's $240 million investment, will not rest in the hands of a 23-year-old college dropout. No, even better! It's up to a 31-year-old graduate of Palo Alto High School to spend Ballmer's bucks. Despite his lack of higher education, Jonathan Heiliger has a lengthy resume and more experience than most racking up servers in datacenters. But the scale of his current project is daunting.
Rackspace management called Tumblr's David Karp yesterday and pleaded for mercy. The Web-hosting service even offered to cut bandwidth chargeds from $2 a gigabyte down to 40 cents. (Other Rackspace customers, take note.) Didn't work. Karp, who runs today's favorite blogging tool for emo hipsters, dropped the hammer anyway. In the end, he tells us, it wasn't even Rackspace's winter and fall full of fail that led him to quit the service.
Mark Zuckerberg called an all-hands meeting at Facebook to discuss the company's financials, Kara Swisher reports at AllThingsD. Headcount will swell from 450 to 1,000 this year. (To put that in context, Google adds more employees in a single quarter.) Revenues, at $150 million in 2007, are projected to fall between $300 million and $350 million, with an operating profit of $50 million. But that's before Zuckerberg's spending spree on servers.
Rackspace's Web-hosting operation says that the increase in online shopping this month will increase "pressure" on websites. "The slightest delay in navigating a website could cause a customer to make a purchase at a competing site," says Rackspace. Yes, that could be an inconvenience. Sort of like Rackspace's pricey servers going offline again and again. [Web Host Industry News]
365 Main, the chain of datacenters whose San Francisco breakdown brought the Web to its knees this summer, is being put on the block by the private-equity funds which own its real estate. Significantly, it doesn't appear that 365 Main Inc., the company which currently runs the centers, will be involved in operations after the sale. Rockwood Properties, which owns a majority of all but one of 365 Main's datacenters, is looking to sell all or some of the centers, which provide space, power, and cooling for servers. No price is set, but the five centers make $68.7 million a year in operating profit — with $18.6 million of that coming from the troubled San Francisco center alone. Frankly, this sounds like a much better business than any of the Web startups hosted by 365 Main. After the jump, the offering document being circulated by Credit Suisse and Eastdil, Rockwood's bankers.