This week saw a fun juxtaposition of power-related stories.
First, there was an Amazon Web Services outage. It started with a power failure. Then the backup power failed. Then, the secondary backup power failed. Result: a few hours of downtime.
Then, eBay announced that they were building a data center in Utah that will run off the power grid. Said John Donahue, eBay’s CEO:
We are embracing disruptive energy technology and designing it into our core data center energy architecture. Running our data centers primarily on reliable, renewable energy, we intend to shape a future for commerce that is more environmentally sustainable at its core.
The new data center will be the first in the United States to use renewable energy as a primary power source. It will use the standard power grid as a backup, inverting the usual methodology of power grid with backup generators. The company acknowledges that there is risk in the move, but thinks that reducing its carbon footprint is important enough to take the risk.
This is not eBay’s first green initiative. In 2010, an eBay datacenter was awarded LEED Gold certification. In April 2012, the company installed 72,000 square feet of solar panels on that same data center.