The New York Times
recently launched the first
parts of a multi-story investigation into data centers. Specifically, the series alleges that most data centers are energy pigs and environmental hazards, "sharply at odds with (the industry's) image of sleek efficiency and environmental friendliness." The Times
insists that data center energy consumption is gluttonous, backup generators (whatever those are) are poorly regulated diesel pollution machines, and the whole thing gets a pass to protect Silicon Valley's reputation as a shiny, happy, job-creating innovation machine:
"This is an industry dirty secret, and no one wants to be the first to say mea culpa," said a senior industry executive who asked not to be identified to protect his company’s reputation. "If we were a manufacturing industry, we’d be out of business straightaway."
The response from the tech sector (and Silicon Valley specifically) to the Times
story was swift and brutal. Wired News
insists that things are changing and the Times
just missed it. Silicon-Valley based GigaOM
also accused the Times
of reporting using a time machine from 2006
, because, apparently, the cited pollution and energy drain issues have been resolved.
Some of the criticism seems legitimate (ZDNet
does a good job pointing out cases of overly-dramatic hysteria in the piece), and some of it seems like crying from Silicon Valley because their industry was painted as something other than a shiny, exceptional, cloud-driven innovation Utopia.