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Can Rackspace power data centre on renewables?

Here’s an interesting one from CIO turned blogger Steve O’Donnell.

Now Steve’s blog is pretty new, but he knows for certain that some of the most influential CIOs in the world are reading it because they are his friends and peers.

Greenbang thinks it’s cool that he’s blogging because unlike most of the people who write about IT (me included), he actually works in the industry, living and breathing tech and data centre air.

Because he looks after First Data’s IT (First Data processes global credit card transactions), that makes this post of his even more important.

And that is that Rackspace Hosting now have equipment which “they claim will be powered by renewable energy sources”.

Here’s what Steve says: “The data center is located in Slough close to a Scottish and Southern Energy combined heat and power (CHP) plant with potential generating capacity of 101MW.  The CHP plant is the UK’s largest dedicated biomass energy facility and its main sources of fuel are wood chips, biomass and waste paper.  The site has its own fibre fuel processing plant, which takes delivery of waste paper products and converts these into useable fuel.

“The plant is connected to the National Grid so Rackspace’s claim is probably more marketing spin than reality. Are Rackspace buying the ROCs (and increasing the already expensive cost of data center power) or just claiming that they use the power as they are a local consumer?”

He then asks Rackspace to comment on his blog. Question is, are they reading? They should be… Greenbang would also love to hear from Rackspace. We can send Steve a message if you like – or how about we get Steve to interview Rackspace? Now that could make great telly…

It’s work meets fun meets social media mashup gone cuurrazy.


  • Steve O'Donnell
    Posted June 25, 2008 at 12:24 pm


    Sounds like you spoke to a pretty stupid salesperson who hasn’t a clue what renewables means, I can’t believe that this was the company line. For example, BT (clearly FTSE100) have an enormous contract (biggest in the world) to buy green electricity to power their global network and believe me they take this stuff very seriously.

    So how can deliver data center capacity on solar power alone? Frankly this is neither very green nor very economic. The data center is in California which has enormous electricity overload problems so the State Government subsidizes IT firms who go green to an enormous extent. Also Solar Panels use more energy in their manufacture than they save in their life.


  • Jason Elliott
    Posted June 25, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I approached Rackspace in February 2006 about providing the hosting for Ethical Jobs and the Ethical Directory with a particular request for a server powered by renewables. They completely poo-pooed the idea saying that if I had a dedicated server for £300 a month that they would plant a tree for me. They said that powering their server with renewables was out of the question as it would never be reliable enough and “90 of the FTSE100” (i.e. their main clientbase) would never “put up with that kind of risk”.

    Needless to say, I went with who, as an unexpected bonus, provided me with the most exceptional, personalised service, as well as reliable servers powered by 100% renewable energy.

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