Report: Google could be experimenting with floating data centers


Reports have surfaced of a couple of mysterious barges appearing to bear Google's fingerprints on them, fueling rumors that the search engine giant could be dabbling with floating data centers as an experiment. One of the barges have been spotted docked in San Francisco Bay, while the other is docked in the harbor in Portland, Maine.

Each of the barges have a large, modular looking structure measuring about 40 feet wide and 70 to 80 feet long--according to Computerworld--and is made up of a series of modern cargo containers. Moreover, the barge in Portland is registered as BAL 0011, while the one docked in San Francisco is registered as BAL 0010. The numeric part of the name represents two consecutive numbers when viewed as a binary and certainly sounds like a name that Google would settle on.

Another factor that is being raised as a smoking gun is a patent that Google received in 2009 for a floating data center. Among the concepts is the use of ocean water to cool the computing systems as well as waves to help power it. Finally, the use of shipping containers in a data center is a time-honed one.

Companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard have been putting servers into specially designed shipping containers for some time now. Indeed, a new breed of providers such as IO are rolling out new data centers that consists of custom-made containers that only need to be plugged into a cooling source and the power grid for immediate use. When one considers all these factors, the concept certainly doesn't sound like such a far-fetched one after all.

For more:
- check out this article at CNET News
- check out this article at Computerworld

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