How green is my web host?
October 16, 2013 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for resources and information on "green" web hosting.

I realize that it comes in various flavors (some are actually wind/solar powered, some purchase "Renewable Energy Certificates", etc.). I would appreciate both overview/big picture takes on the current state of "green" web hosting as well as more detailed examinations of various components and factors. I am also interested in good critiques of various kinds of "green" hosting (e.g., Renewable Energy Certificates being little more than a spin on carbon credits).

Lastly, I am very interested in innovative datacenter strategies, e.g., Midas' dielectric oil for cooling & heat dissipation.
posted by jammy to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have any specific recommendations, but here's a NY Times article about the controversy Microsoft's "green" datacenters have caused in rural Washington.
posted by cnc at 9:14 AM on October 16, 2013

New York Times had an article on data center energy use. Lots of links there.

Cloud hosting in and of itself is more environmentally-friendly than traditional hosting. Instead of each company having its own datacenter or server, cloud hosting combines hundreds of thousands of companies resulting in a much smaller combined data center footprints. Same for virtual hosting.

Google Green and data center best practices.

Amazon's GovCloud is zero-carbon.

Helpful search terms: data centers, zero carbon.

Not a web host but perhaps interesting in this context: Black Google.
posted by rada at 9:18 AM on October 16, 2013's environmental policy page says they use 100% renewable energy, they are carbon neutral, they work to reduce energy and hardware consumption (efficient servers, etc.), they even write about the building materials and cleaning products used in their offices.

Also, they have been extremely reliable and pleasant to work with, and have very good technical support. They also communicate well and send out a pretty good monthly newsletter. I've hosted sites with them for a number of years and have always, always been happy with them.
posted by amtho at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Operators of large datacenters (ie Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, probably Apple and Rackspace) have strong incentive towards efficiency, because, the cost of power, and associated expenses (power distribution & backup, cooling) is a major expense, second only to the cost of the hardware itself. They also tend to have the incentive and ability to make sure the provisioning of datacenter resources to run their workloads is efficient in terms of both hardware utilization and power utilization.

The picture is different for smaller operations where other costs and considerations may dominate. I doubt that Midas's dielectric oil will ever become mainstream. Even liquid-cooling for servers seems to be a shrinking niche occupied by those who have limited space, but don't want to outsource.
posted by Good Brain at 4:33 PM on October 16, 2013

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