The Development and Future of Micro Data Centers
The concept of large sizes being a desirable trait is heavily set within most people’s minds meanwhile mobile datacenter has proven to be more efficient. One simply has to look at the language people use to see evidence of it. When people consider fantastic ideas it’s often described as being able to see the big picture, or that someone is thinking big. This identification with large size as a positive is easy to understand. Through most of humanity’s technological development, the most significant advancements would also tend to be rather large. Sometimes this would stem from intentional design choices.
For example, farming or mining equipment deals with large quantities of material. The larger the device, the more it’s able to handle. Other times the size was more a side effect of current technological limitations. The first computers were huge, often taking up an entire room to house a single machine. Early computers were large enough that the term bug came about to describe software errors simply due to the probability of actual insects making their homes within the immense contraptions.
The example of early computers also shows just how limited the ability of that era’s technology was when it came to size. It’s easy to see some subjective preference for a computer’s size when one is talking about laptops. Some people prefer laptops to be as small as possible, almost to the point that they could fit in a large enough pocket. Other people prefer laptops to be large enough that the keyboard is the same size as found in a traditional typewriter. It’s true that some people might prefer larger sizes for their computer, but nobody would actually desire one which takes up an entire room.
In the past people didn’t really have much choice about how large or small their electronics were. The past few decades are really the first time in history where computing devices have come with an assumption that size can be dramatically scaled. If someone is browsing any type of computing device than they’d be justified in thinking they might be able to find something which is a better fit for their home. Individual home users aren’t the only shoppers who want to see some variety in the size of their computers, though. Companies are just as eager to get more appropriate sizes for their computers as home users. Larger corporations might be better able to fund purchases of their electronics than home users but there’s often considerable factors which scale the costs up rather dramatically. Industrial use of computers often comes with a high level of associated costs which go far above and beyond the cost of the initial purchase.
One of the biggest problems with the industrial use of computers has to do with real estate. A company might be fine with a single room dedicated for use as a data center. It’s far harder to sell a company on the idea that they’ll need to construct additional buildings for minor expansions of their server farm. The people buying servers need to focus on space. The people selling servers also have to keep market needs in mind. In the end, the profit of a company working with computers is tied into actual sales of those products. Making computers smaller is just good business for both end users and the industry as a whole.
The interplay between needs of the people developing computers and servers and those buying them would continue for a while. Each end of the development process would try to find new ways to innovate in order to meet the needs of associated industries. It was generally thought that the state of the server industry was good enough, even if not perfect. The amount of work needed to push for smaller sizes within many aspects of the industry just didn’t seem worth the effort. Additionally, there were issues with vision as well. Often times people don’t see the opportunities which a developing technology might offer until it’s actually in their hands.
A screwdriver is an amazingly powerful tool for example, but useless to a person who’s only ever used nails. The computer industry was facing a similar problem when it came to using the right tool for the right job. There’s a huge amount of advantages to be found in increasingly small designs for computer components. Many people first needed to actually see the utility of smaller designs before they’d know what to do with them. The trend toward micro-sized electronics took a while to develop simply due to the fact that people didn’t see the immediate utility to it. When people did start to see what smaller sized components could do than they’d quickly find powerful and innovative uses for them. Miniaturization would eventually lead to today’s most cutting-edge addition to the server space. Micro data centers were already on the horizon, but there were still some things which needed to be completed before people could see how innovative a solution they could be.