How is Crypto-Currency Mining Changing Data Center Design and Infrastructure?

Feb 1, 2018
by Josh Anderson

MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC — At our recent Second Annual Greater Montréal & Québec Data Centre Summit, CapRE welcomed a panel of leading regional crypto-currency experts talk about the arena’s explosive growth in recent months. In light of its status as a rising asset class, Moderator Ed Kimm, Vice-President for Cloud Solutions & Strategic Alliances at StrataCore asked the panel to discuss how crypto-currency mining is changing the design and infrastructure landscape of data centers. The panel eagerly obliged, speaking first about retrofitting infrastructure from other industries before segueing over to the use of data center containers.

First, Marc Creel, Director, COLO-D cautioned that there are many things to consider. “There is the aspect of security,” he offered, for example. “Bit coiner miners, a lot of these rigs aren’t even CSA certified. That power supply isn’t CSA certified. So there’s got to be some kind of fire extinguisher, fire suppressant in there.”

Creel said that his team at COLO-D is actively reviewing such needs, since they’ve had such a massive influx of requests. “We’ll create solutions based specifically for them,” he shared. “Because our solutions, the data center solutions just don’t work for bitcoin miners. It’s way too much for a value-add things they just don’t require. In these areas where there are old hydro-electric dams, that used to be use for aluminum and steel and all of that, that infrastructure could be used to power a bitcoin mining farm.”

Francis Pouliot, Co-Founder of Research and Cryptoassets, Catallaxy

Next, the spotlight switched to Francis Pouliot, Co-Founder of Research and Cryptoassets at Catallaxy. “That’s happening already!!” he replied. “And you need to understand why they’re willing to go for such low-grade infrastructure. If you look at the ROI on mining, what you’ll see is that if you start with January 1, they’ll make more money during the first two months than the rest of the year. And the first four months than the rest two years.”

According to Pouliot, your #1 job as a miner is to remember that as soon as you have it in your possession, you need to plug it into the wall. “Right now!” he urged. “Because you’re losing millions every day. Literally. And your hash rate is relative to the global hash rate. So it’s a depreciating asset. If you don’t plug it in now, it’s not making any money. And when you plug it in later, it’s going to make even less money. So this is really why they’re really trying to plug it in. It’s because the shipment are on the way to Canada, and when they arrive in the port, they need to go somewhere, right?”

“They’re already here,” retorted Creel. “But you also have to remember that in order to power the containers or the mining farms, you have to build a hydro-electric distribution system. So if we’re talking about, let’s for instance think about 8 megawatts worth of power. You’re going to spend $1.8 Million Dollars on electrical distribution to power those containers or those racks. So there’s a significant cost for the data center operator to get started, get ready, get going, to feed the mining. You still have to get the big power from the utility to the rack. Those wires are big and they’re expensive.”

Be sure to check out previous CapRE Insider Reports covering this panel discussion:

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