Should Data Center Operators Beware Fitting out for Bit-Miners?

Nov 2, 2018
by Josh Anderson

ATLANTA, GA — CapRE has organized multiple panels about blockchain technology, but the discussion at CapRE’s Greater Atlanta Data Center Summit last month surrounding the topic may just take the cake for most riveting. The panel, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: What are They and How Do They Impact Data Center Design, Construction & Development? included a discussion about the basics of blockchain and bit-mining. Below, we highlight a portion of that panel discussion that hones in on what data center operators need to know about this new technology and how it affects them.

Jeff Hill, Enterprise Data Center Services | Business Development Manager, CyrusOne

“So what are some of the different potential users of data center space when it comes to Bitcoin?” asked moderator Nathan Porter, Partner at Cryptos Managed, looking to panelist Jeff Hill, Enterprise Data Center Services | Business Development Manager, CyrusOne. “Jeff, do you want to jump in? What are some of the potential use cases where blockchain and data centers might be able to find a sort of match?”

“CyrusOne is very engaged with what is happening between New York and Chicago and etc. and there is a lot of transactions going on,” replied Hill. “But there has got to be a spot for these miners that they can develop and deliver the solutions cost-effectively. Because they are working on the margin. Every one of these miners is working on the margin.”

Next, Hill offered a story from the trenches. “From recent experience, I worked with a fellow that wanted 25 megawatts in Washington,” he began. “We weren’t there yet. But he said, hey let’s step here, and he had no creditworthiness. And he was not one to admit it. So our thought was, go and get your route, here’s what you can do, but our product just isn’t meant for you. So I think from a future standpoint there will be a lot of opportunity. But it’s got to be the right solution and a very cost-effective way to do it.”

“So I’d like to say just two things, to follow up on that,” cut in Dave McCall, Vice-President of Innovation at QTS. “The other thing is as a data center provider, regardless of what we agree on, and you know, resiliency is changing, it used to be 2N and now it’s currently maintainable and depending on your application, it’s just to say…we know that miners are not particularly latency sensitive or any of these other things.”

data center summitBut in a data center, with a traditional data center that we would build, even down where that resiliency isn’t there, we still have to build it with a certain amount of physical security and all this other stuff,” he continued. “If I build a data center or create a product specific to miners that gets to their margins and it goes down, well you may be okay with it, but what is the industry reporting? QTS or CyrusOne — they don’t report that that was a mining data center. They don’t report that.”

Concluded McCall, “Because we had some class B space and we spiffed it up, because we know how to operate these things much better than a miner knows how to operate the infrastructure and how to recover it and whatever. But my name just got drug through the mud. And my competitors are going to say, did you see that?”

For more coverage of this panel, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports:


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