No River Runs Through It

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-05-22 Print this article Print


One notable detail was that the Lenoir data center does not sit on a riverbank the way many of its predecessors do to more easily draw water to cool the machines inside.

Tom Jacobik, Google operations manager for North and South Carolina (Google will be opening a similar facility soon in Goose Creek, S.C.), said Google pipes water in to cool the machines from the local reservoirs and other water supplies in the Catawba River valley. Ambient air and a location situated in the mountains also help cool the data center.

Asked what kind of steps Google takes in the area of green IT, Jacobik said Google limits the resources it uses whenever possible, including using "power-friendly servers." He said he also dialed down the data center's water consumption in 2007 when Caldwell County endured a drought.

Green or not, Google has at least a few dozen data centers all over the world, and these are allegedly home to 1 million or more servers total. This means the company is consuming unbelievable kilowatt numbers. This is the tradeoff: Google is providing thousands of jobs with these data centers, but at what cost to the environment?

As Google continues to wield its computing might across the world, building the machines and facilities to keep its $17 billion per year search ad business ka-chinging, the company will continue to strain electrical resources. 

Google growth starts at the roots 

Google wouldn't say how many Caldwell County people are employed in the data center, although the company is mining the local IT talent from Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute.

An informal eWEEK poll during the barbecue after the event found that most of the workers are native North Carolinians. These workers included software and hardware infrastructure engineers, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) experts, electrical engineers, and data center custodians.

John Allie joined Google's Lenoir data center as systems administrator six months ago and couldn't be happier with the makeup of the company.

Allie, who was the IT manager of a midsize print manufacturing company in North Carolina before joining Google, said Google does a really good job of hiring talented people.

"Generally everybody you work with is as smart as you if not smarter," Allie told eWEEK.


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