Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Tech Centers" of the Northwest...

An excellent Wall Street Journal Article, "Where Clouds Displace Forest" talks about the "Tech Centers" of the pacific northwest but not Hillsboro, Portland, Redmond, Bellevue, Renton,  Everett, Seattle or Vancouver.  It means those small communities, mostly in Eastern Washington/Oregon, that have abundant power at cheap industrial rates. Their cooler weather and inexpensive power make an ideal location for high-energy consuming "data centers".  The key to attracting such facilities is cheap local power. In this case, Prineville is made use of a local power provider's very low industrial rates to recruit the new Facebook data center.

What I find somewhat ironic about these data centers stored in depopulated areas is the actual relationship between local and global information.  Facebook,  no doubt, will be hosting accounts from all over the world in Prineville.   Lots of stuff is happening on Facebook - lots of activism, lots of marketing, lots of community, even lots of intelligence gathering.  And where is all this exciting activity physically (or virtually) happening? Somewhere in the high desert of sparsely populated eastern Oregon and Washington.  Should a natural disaster cut the fiber lines that no doubt travel over the mountains to the coast, an entire world of communities will most probably disappear. The physical presence of virtual communities has no relation to locality.  Social networking, at the physical level, is truly a "non-local" business model.

No comments: