Heat Your Home with Someone Else's Computer

(Photo: Simply Saxony)

Servers can get hot, so data centers generate a huge amount of heat. If left unharvested, that energy goes to waste. That's why some companies are marketing systems that will let you heat your own home with a cloud server. For example, the German firm Cloud&Heat makes cloud servers that are attached to home water heaters. As the server operates, it heats the water in the tank. Evan Ackerman writes for IEEE Spectrum:

The idea is that you’d buy and install one of these cabinets for about the same cost as a conventional heating system, and hook it up to your ducting, water system, electricity (3 phase at 400v), and Internet (at least 50 Mbit/s). Cloud&Heat pays for the Internet connection and the power required to keep it running, and you get as much warm air and hot water as the servers in the box can produce, free of charge, as it quietly performs cloud computing tasks.

It’s a good option for the server company, too, because the distributed network makes the data safer:

Meanwhile, Cloud&Heat doesn’t have to worry about much of the datacenter infrastructure costs that are typically associated with cloud computing platforms. It also gets access to a very well distributed network, which helps to insulate it against some hardware and software issues. Cloud&Heat will cover all maintenance (and liability) for 15 years, and data security is probably not as much of an issue as it might seem: the cabinets are locked, the data are stored redundantly, and everything on the disks is encrypted.

-via Marginal Revolution

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