Bitcoin Influencing Data Centers?
First and foremost, if you were not aware, Bitcoin is a software based payment system that was described by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and introduced as open-source software in 2009. Since then the US Treasury has gone on to classify Bitcoin as a decentralized virtual currency. Without a central repository or single administrator payments work peer-to-peer. Plenty of skeptics have raised concerns about illegal activity or fraud being committed by Bitcoin farmers or enterprising criminals. Using web applications, mobile devices and PCs equipped with wallet software, Bitcoins are transferred in exchange for products and services. Businesses have an incentive to accept Bitcoin for the sheer fact that the fees are lower than the 2%-3% charged by most credit card companies. As a form of payment Bitcoin has seen growth even with dire warnings from the European Banking Authority about the lack of consumer protections. While the future of Bitcoin is impossible to tell, one thing is for certain, the implication of high-density hardware and low-reliability electrical infrastructure are creating a new demand in amateur and professional data centers.
The central idea of the bitcoin system is the public ledger. Rather than the conventional method of recording the transfer of actual bills or promissory notes in a privatized location, when someone transfers their digital currency, the transaction is recorded into the singular ledger called a block chain ledger. Maintaining the block chain is called mining, this is where the computing comes in. Those who run mining computers – dedicated servers who spend their entire process calculating for the ledger – are rewarded with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees. These “mining servers” are basically hashing the parcels of information given and then adding the transactions to the block chain. Unconcerned with uptime and IT services bitcoin farmers are turning to warehouses with shelving and high-density power output rather than data centers that focus on fiber, power and bandwidth. These “hashing centers” are rarely more than a shell with power most times, cooled with simple fans in some cases, but they are also introducing some of the newer server cooling techniques, including the use of 3M’s new Novec fluid that allows for much more compact arrangements of components. As chips generate heat, the Novec boils, removing the heat as it changes from liquid to gas.
The needs of the bitcoin miners have been heard by C7 Data Centers, they have already introduced a tiered program and expanded their spaces to accommodate 1 megawatt of bitcoin mining servers with plans to expand. The question is whether or not this is going to affect the realm of data centers as a whole in the future. Will the large enterprises switch over to full liquid cooling to increase density, or will the need for up-time and bandwidth continue to be a more pervasive issue? Are you looking forward to an age of liquid cooled server rooms and systems meant to easily move in the event of a data center outage? With cheaper designs and higher density being the focus of Bitcoin, we may well see an insurgence of new technology meant to handle that kind of processing. It can only mean good things for the rest of the industry.
Read more about how bitcoin works and may change the future of data center technology here:http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2014/07/10/massive-bitcoin-mines-spring-up-in-warehouses/2/
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