Geography & Data Centers

With so many earthquakes near Silicon Valley, it probably wasn’t hard for Frank Robles of CityNap to convince Google last year to store geographic data on more stable ground here in San Antonio.

Google is one of CityNAP’s first customers. CityNAP is a secondary site for storage of the geographical data that Google provides on the Internet.

Now Microsoft is building a huge data center here too.

Environmental Impacts

I like data centers. They add a lot to the tax base without adding much to the population. They do consume a lot of electricity though. Microsoft will be CPS Energy’s largest customer. I don’t understand why CPS doesn’t provide time-of-use billing. If electricity were sold at a lower prices during off-peak hours data centers would be motivated to implement Thermal Energy Storage (TES). Specifically, making ice at night to provide cooling during the following day. Kilowatts generated during off-peak are a lot cleaner.

There’s interest in wind generated electricity, but the wind blows strongest at night. Some have looked at TES for wind, but seems like that job could be shifted to the data center itself.

Programmer Impacts
It appears this data center might also host Microsoft’s answer Yahoo’s Electric Cloud. There must be a bad pun in this somewhere … every cloud has a silverlighting?

What I want to know is how I can perform geoprocessing against different layers in different databases in a data center without being killed by round-trips. It seems to me that if two different data vendors store their data in the same data center there should be a way to spatially join their data behind the firewall, relieving me from fetching each feature here to the client. Isn’t there some sort of protocol to support this?

Right now if I want a list of all points from vendor A, that fall within polygons from vendor B, I am stuck with lots of round trips, or locally caching and doing the overlay. (?)

It seems like if a protocol existed, there would be a network effect such that geographic data would become more valuable – Vendor A and B could sell data at a higher prices, thus attracting even more vendors the marketplace.

If Microsoft intends to sell ads

Once the service is formally launched, Microsoft will keep it free for light users but ask heavy users either to allow Microsoft to sell advertising space in exchange for unlimited usage or pay a nominal fee.

It seems like advertisers interested in geographically targeting an audience would be keen to pay for ads returned by multi-vendor spatial queries.


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