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CO Insiders: Bitcoin Data Centers Leading to Unique Heating Solutions

Oct 10, 2018
by Josh Anderson

DENVER, CO – Many would say that blockchain is driving the data center conversation, especially in regions such as the Mountain West, where the bitcoin business is booming. And some would go so far as to say that crypto-currency more specifically is driving that conversation.

So CapRE’s Second Annual Great Denver Data Center Summit last week featured a panel titled “The Next Chapter: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: What are They and How Do They Impact Data Center Design, Construction, Development and Operations?” and the conversation featured some remarks by Don Mitchell, Data Center Division Manager at Victaulic about today’s data center infrastructure and design, and whether that lines up with what miners need.

data center summit“The challenge we have right now is that the traditional data center is designed for somewhere around 8 KW per rack,” outlined Don Mitchell, Data Center Division Manager, Victaulic, getting back to the original matter at hand. “And if someone wants to plug in blockchain, you could be looking at up to 250 KW per tank, or megawatts per trailer park, or any number of things. Because they don’t need the SLAs. They don’t need the hands or the services or any of that. They just need the power and cooling, and if they have a little burp every now and then, so bet it, as long as it keeps their costs down. However, if you want to give them a gated, private, high-end Beverly Hills apartment, they’ll take it.”

“Our SLA is 95% uptime. That’s pretty standard right now,” offered Arland Whitfield, CEO of Frontier Mining. “Coming from the MSP side of the business, this is a lot easier for everybody. And the 95% is a huge amount of time. Most of the centers that we look at have one line of power with a transformer on-site, in case something happens. It’s a different world. And it’s usually forced air. There is no A/C in these units, just forced air.”

Mitchell then offered a response. “So when you work with the trailers, the trailers who work with the forced air model start to operate a data center, in many cases, with that amount of density inside a building, the most efficient way to pull [the heat] is with liquid cooling,” he explained “So what you’re seeing in the marketplace is people adding liquids to data centers that have been designed to push air around. We’ve done a 40-megwatt, 3000-watt/per square foot data center using [such a] solution. This was for a company called BitFury. And so that is another alternative.”

Be sure to check out further perspective from this panel on blockchain and bitcoin in previous CapRE Insider Reports:

Banner (L): Don Mitchell, Data Center Division Manager, Victaulic

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