This is part 4 of the Absence Highlights Change Series.
Max and I are on the motorcycle, tearing up Rt 211 West (one of our favorite roads because of the twists and turns), and the sun is warm and sweet on our backs. The day is new, the 45* V-twin is purring (well, as much as a Harley can purr with Stage 1 pipes), and all is right with the universe.
There is a faint stress, far in our subliminal senses, past the motor and the road and the birds and the trees and the fission of tearing uphill at 60MPH on two wheels at ludicrous bank angles: we’re .
We got up at 6 and hit the road, but now it’s almost 9. Regardless of that Milwaukee motor’s power, Max and I need energy.
Now, I’m not bashing anybody...but in early 2003, I did some beer-coaster calculations of the trends in power consumption caused by the advent of a new beast: blade servers. It seems the manufacturers had devised a way to jam an entire server’s electronics onto a blade and stuff lots of those blades into a single chassis.
The premise was sound – “reduce the footprint of multiple servers so you can cram more of them into a data center”. But the sodden calculus on my beer coaster inferred there was trouble coming. That night, I didn’t sleep much.
My worries stemmed from the fact that the manufacturers were creating devices that drew more and more power, but - at a macro scale - the power arriving into data centers could not be augmented to keep pace with the trend. I was constantly fielding RFPs from customers demanding multiple serving substations, multiple electrical utilities serving the substations and multiple power plants driving the multiple utilities.
Let’s translate that into English: “Unicorns ridden by fairies spreading glittering pixie-dust”. The real world doesn’t work that way. Although (from an engineer’s point of view), it probably should.
But I needed to counter those RFP queries, factually - so out of necessity, I learned a lot about the national electrical grid… and the results were pretty discouraging.
And then, of course, the Blackout of August 14, 2003, and suddenly there were better minds than mine focusing on the same issue.
Consider the ramifications of a grid infrastructure that is innately-unable to support the projected electrical load of 2015 without major improvement, hampered by the current economy and blocked by the “Nimby’s” and “Banana’s” (“Not in my backyard” and “Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone”, respectively.) Hmm…
It’s chilly and bleak here… but after all, that’s only because we’re in a hairpin turn where the fog is rolling down the mountain. That’s the wonder of a motorcycle – you are the environment, rather than just passing through it. Twist the throttle hard, watch for gravel and oil spills, bank into the curve, and we’ll emerge in sunshine at the top of the hill. Max turns his head to look back at me, and even through the Doggles I can read his eyes: he’s hungry. We’ll get there, buddy.
All of you ride safe until we next meet.