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Enterprise Computing: When Latency Doesn’t Count

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A quick exchange tonight on Twitter with Steve Duplessie (@stevedupe) regarding latency and datacentre location got me thinking again about the whole datacentre location issue which I’d mused over some time ago.  

It goes like this; given no latency restrictions, where in the world would you place your datacentres?

Clearly the choice would be based on a number of parameters:

  • ready availability of (cheap) power (i.e. electricity)
  • low cooling costs (Death Valley would probably be unsuitable)
  • geographic stability (no earthquakes please)
  • political stability (nobody reclaiming my datacentre as their property)
  • Cheap land and build costs
  • access to cheap and skilled labour to run the operation

It isn’t difficult to extrapolate these points and come up with a number of locations on the globe that would fit this criteria.  Companies are already doing it, so how hard is the latency problem?

Firstly, we should ask where exactly does the latency occur?  With decent telecomms, customer->server latency isn’t much of an issue, especially if the communication is web based.  From a storage perspective, what’s more difficult is providing application/data resiliency in geographically disparate locations.  We know about technologies like Axxana that can assist in the distance replication problem, and having an application->storage understanding helps design infrastructures that can provide simultaneous diverse access to data.

Perhaps the age of datacentres located wherever we choose isn’t that far away after all…

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • http://thestorageanarchist.com the storage anarchist

    Oddly enough, Sun’s cloud data center (SuperNAP) is situated just outside of Las Vegas. Meets most of your criteria, except it is arguably in a (near) desert area:

    http://blogs.sun.com/HPC/entry/video_tour_the_sun_cloud

  • Chris Evans

    I guess desert is possibly acceptable if the cooling issue can be managed (which I’m sure it can).

    Chris

  • http://blogs.rupturedmonkey.com Nigel

    When harnessing solar power becomes more efficient then deserts, with their heat and cheap land will look very attractive.

    A while ago I worked for a company that had a Data Centre in a far out place. Ticked most of the boxes you suggest. We had an interesting problem though when we lost access via the main IPLC. Took us 3 days to work out that the ocean bed cable had been damaged during an earthquate not far from Albania (if memory serves). Stretching cables around the globe nad under the sea and the likes can make for interesting challenges ;-)

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