What Does Crypto-Currency Mean for the Future of Data Center Design & Construction?
by Josh Anderson
VANCOUVER, BC – When people talk about the intersection of Blockchain and the data center world, quite often the conversation hones in on how to approach a potential deal when Joe Crypto emails you out of the blue. However, it’s good to take a long view to this intersection as well. So CapRE’s Inaugural Vancouver Data Center Summit featured a panel titled “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin: What are They and How Do They Impact Data Center Design, Construction & Development?” Naturally, the conversation kicked off by getting right to the point.
“I have some general questions here about what miners do and how they make money. What’s the potential different users of data center space, as well,” began Brian Klebash, Founder and CEO of CapRE, who kicked off the discussion with a talking point. “But I’d like to start with this. What do blockchain and crypto-currency mean for future data center, specifically data center design and construction?”
Patrick Hakim, Crypto Consutant and Owner of Hakim Consulting was happy to offer the first take. “I’ll jump in here. I’m not hosting in any of my facilities. I have worked with clients who are hosting,” he began. “And typically their needs for uptime and redundancies that they want built into their design for the system are far more than the needs of the owner/operator. I’ve learned quite a bit today from you all [in the data center world] today, about the types of networking and connectivity issues that are out there that are, quite frankly, not a barrier to us in the Blockchain world.”
“When we’re talking about crypto-currencies, and when you go back to the fundamentals of real estate…the power costs are going to be one of the most significant pieces that you are going to encounter,” continued Hakim. “We’re above 7 cents right now and you’re for the most part priced out of making money and your return on your investment has pretty much gone down. I’ve seen some facilities that use cooling but the climate here allows you to have ambient air flow. My facility, where we’ve got about 2,000 machines, each rack that we have runs about 20,000 watts.”
According to Hakim, he needs a significant amount of power, but he doesn’t use any fans or anything to remove the hot air created. “We specifically rely on the machines and devices themselves. They’ve got an in-take fan and a return fan,” he explained. “So for us, we just use ambient air technology with our specific design that we’ve come up with. We’re not noticing that we have a lot of the same needs that your data centers are speaking of. Truly, we could mine in a barn as long as there is power and a way to filter some of their air.”
“And when I say filter, I mean just keep the leaves and feathers out,” he added with a light chuckle. “We’re not talking any kind of air filtration, because the lifetime of the miners that we have doesn’t last that long anyways. So you’re getting new inventory probably every seven to nine months or you’re replacing hardware until you have enough.”
For more on the Blockchain and crypto-game, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports from other CapRE Data Center Summits: