Data Center Power Challenges
Andy Lawrence, Uptime Institute’s Executive Director of Research, talks all about the power challenges facing the data center industry.
Announcer: Welcome to Not Your Father’s Data Center Podcast, brought to you by Compass Datacenters. We build for what’s next. Now, here’s your host, Raymond Hawkins.
Raymond Hawkins: All right. Welcome again to another edition of Not Your Father’s Data Center. I am Raymond Hawkins, Chief Revenue Officer at Compass Datacenters, your host. And today we are joined by our good friends at the Uptime Institutes, their executive director of research, Andy Lawrence. Andy, thank you for joining us on the podcast.
Andy Lawrence: Thank you. And thank you for inviting me.
Raymond Hawkins: Excited to have our friends from Uptime Institute represented again. Your friend Mr. Brown was with us a few months ago, so happy to have another Uptime Institute teammate.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, and I’m delighted he’s been on, but as I was telling you earlier, he’s a hard act to follow, so I’ll do my best.
Raymond Hawkins: He’s a character, that’s for sure. All right Andy, so where are you calling us from? Where are we connecting with?
Andy Lawrence: I’m based in Newbury, which is about 50 miles west of London in the UK.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you. All right. Well, we love the folks that listen to us, love to hear who we’re talking to and a little bit about them. So if you’re comfortable, go back as far as you would like. Where’s home, where’d you grow up, school? Love to hear as much about you as you’re comfortable sharing, and then we’ll dig into some data center related stuff.
Andy Lawrence: So I guess like most people in this industry, I didn’t start with the end in mind. I had no idea I would end up here, but that’s not surprising because data centers I think barely existed back in those days. So I was brought up in the south of England, but I actually went to university in Manchester, which I selected on the basis of not necessarily an academic grounds, but… It was a good university, but really because there was some certain football teams that I wanted to watch up there.
So I went to Manchester, and again, unlike many people in this industry, I did philosophy in English as my main degree, not a science degree. Although actually I did spend and became very interested in one particular module, which was the philosophy of science. Which was what is the nature of proof and what are good theories and bad theories, and how do we know when people are basically talking BS? If you like it was an early form of academic fake news detector. And I actually went on then from there to become a journalist. And I did various forms of journalism, did a little bit of even football journalism, financial, but I actually was really caught by IT.
I love the fact that IT was right at the center of things, whether it was the police systems or the health systems or the defense systems or everything seemed… IT got you in every door because it was so critical. And I got deeper in, deeper in, and I started to favor… Although I was a news journalist for a while, I really favored just trying to understand it in depth and do educational pieces that actually got really to the bottom of what is this new form of microprocessor or what is a relational database or those kinds of topics. And later on went to cover the whole dotcom revolution.
I started my own company, which gave me a great experience of raising money, going through that whole investment and sales cycle. We weren’t hugely successful, but the investors left moderately happy. And then I joined 451 Research, and actually that’s where it all began with data centers. So although I’d obviously had an awareness of data centers up until that point, it was mostly from the IT side. But I became interested in environmental issues and joined 451 and I think I was one of the very first analysts that really covered what we called then… What was known as green IT, what we at 451 called eco-efficient IT. Because the idea, we would look at the economics as well as the ecological or the environmental.
So we started covering that. It was very successful for about two years. This is around a 2008ish time. And there were loads of startups, well-funded, looking at carbon counting, better efficiency in IT, energy management, et cetera. But within about three years, I’d say 80% of those companies had died. The investment wave stopped. Obviously this was post of 2007/8 crash. And it led me back to data centers because so much was about energy and data centers were far and away the biggest users of energy. And that actually was the part of the topic… That was where our subscription base continued. So in the end, I started 451’s data center technologies group, and that’s where we began to look at all the new technologies and data centers and so on. And that’s where it all started.
451 merged with Uptime. We’ve recently separated out a couple of years ago, so we’re no longer part of 451. And I came on the Uptime side and have been building up a research team since then. And we cover really anything that moves from an intelligence research point of view. So that’s my story.
Raymond Hawkins: Aright. Awesome. Well, there’s some interesting things in there that if you don’t mind, let me lift a couple of them out. First of all, you snuck in there that you were in journalism having studied English and philosophy at the University of Manchester and that you wrote about football. So number one, I didn’t know that. Number two, my first job out of college was I owned a magazine where rewrote about football for two years. So you got to take me a little bit through your time as a football journalist.
Andy Lawrence: Well, I’m going to say it was brief.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah?
Andy Lawrence: It was very brief because I ran into a guy who owned an agency that did match reports, and so they would send a journalist to every professional game in England. And I don’t know if you know the English Football League is 92 clubs. So there’s quite a lot of games on a Saturday and mostly on a Wednesday. They tended to play twice a week. So I did a few match reports, but the trouble was it clashed with me actually playing football. Because the game times at the same time, number one. And number two is, the truth is it didn’t excite me to do that as a career. I was good as a fan. I wasn’t that enamored with the idea of doing that. So I wanted to something to get my brain tucked into a bit more than that.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you. All right. Well, brief-
Andy Lawrence: But it didn’t last long. I certainly never got up to the idea of covering professional games.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you.
Andy Lawrence: That might have been different. Oh, sorry, not professional, but Premier League.
Raymond Hawkins: Premier League, yeah, the highest level. Sure, sure. Well, fascinating. You took a short stint in the sports journalism world and you felt like you. I needed something a little meatier, but it was a fun experience in my youth. I was in my early twenties at the time. So you did allude to the fact that you’re from the south end of the country, but you went up to Manchester to go to school, and you did mention some motivation being around football clubs. So who did you want to go see on a regular basis? And talk to us a little bit about that.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, I was a Manchester United fan, and you get teased a lot in England for being a United fan if you weren’t born and brought up in Manchester.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you.
Andy Lawrence: So I what is sometimes referred to as a Cockney Red, although you could hardly say that. I haven’t got a Cockney accent either, but yeah, so I was pretty passionate as a United fan at that age. At that point, they didn’t win much, and indeed they didn’t win anything for a long, long time. They were a big name. But anyway, I watched them be a very mediocre side for many years actually. But the three years I was there, they were pretty average side. And went to most home games and even when saw them in Europe a couple of times and was a big fan, but all the glory came later, actually.
Raymond Hawkins: So have you been following him ever since? Since the eighties you’ve been a Man U guy?
Andy Lawrence: Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: Awesome.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: Awesome. We’ll take a divergence here from the data center business. Lots of news for Manchester this year and I will torture Gunner’s last name, so don’t make me try to say it properly, but-
Andy Lawrence: Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Raymond Hawkins: All right, one more time.
Andy Lawrence: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Raymond Hawkins: Solskjær. Okay, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. All right.
Andy Lawrence: I’m not Norwegian either. So I’m not so great in pronunciation.
Raymond Hawkins: Hopefully we won’t get too many corrections for that one. All right. Ole Gunnar, pro Ole Gunnar. Did you think it was time to sack him? Love to hear from a lifetime Man U guy where you were on that change.
Andy Lawrence: Well, lifetime Man U supporters love the man anyway, because he scored a critical goal in the 19… When was it? 1999 Champions League final in the last minute. So he’s a hero, whatever. And I actually liked him a lot. But I do think that when you’re a soccer manager, when your team… I don’t know if it’s the same in all sports in American sports, but when your team loses 3, 4, 5 games in a row, including getting totally hammered by your biggest rivals, it’s hard to accept that isn’t the inevitable outcome.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Andy Lawrence: It’s like turning in six or eight loss making quarters. As a CEO, it’s time to go.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. As great as your past may have been, there’s time to make a change/
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, But he’s still highly regarded.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you. I look at the table now and I see… I’m guessing, I don’t know who you hate the most, but I’m guessing Man City’s on the list.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, they’re pretty high up. Over the years they’ve been… I mean, United fans are, not fond of Liverpool. I don’t hold these kind of visceral hatred-
Raymond Hawkins: I was going to say, so number two On the list would’ve been Liverpool.
Andy Lawrence: But I don’t hold the kind of visceral hatred that some fans in England hold for other clubs. But Manchester City annoy the hell out of me, and so did Chelsea actually.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you. Chelsea is what I was going to say. So my friends that are Man U guys, some of them won’t even say the word Liverpool. They have some rather unkind things to say about Liverpool, that’s for sure.
Andy Lawrence: There is that. Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Andy Lawrence: So there’ve been som epic [inaudible 00:10:58].
Raymond Hawkins: All right. So let’s take one or two more minutes on football. So Ronaldo comes over, makes a big splash. The team’s not in the middle of the table, but certainly not in the conversation with City or Liverpool or Chelsea. How do you feel about the interim coach and where the club’s headed right now.
Andy Lawrence: It’s a bit of a mess right now, to be honest, sadly. So I don’t think the previous manager, Solskjær wanted to have Ronaldo either. Of course, Ronaldo, for those who don’t know, had the early part of his career playing for Manchester United. He was a superstar. He won champions, medals with them, went off to Real Madrid, et cetera. I think the idea that he was going to come back to England and possibly play for Manchester City was just too much for the business managers. So I think they brought him in, not Solskjær at the time.
I think there was a project going on that he disrupted. Ronaldo was brought in as a superstar. I think the team were gelling. I think they had cohesion, they had youth, they had a balance because they had bought new players over the summer. I’m not denying, he’s a great, great player, of course. But yeah, I think he’s unsettled everything. And I think he’s pushed some other players out of position, had them playing deeper or playing in a subsidiary role. I think it’s part of the problem.
There are some other, pretty terrible things have happened at United since. One of the players is on criminal charges and may never play again. So yeah, it’s all a bit of a mess right now. This is the glory of being a passionate football fan. You have great years and you have terrible years, and that’s what you’re condemned to.
Raymond Hawkins: Yep, yep. It’s funny to you say that Andy. My son is following in my footsteps in America over here. Baseball’s a game we’re passionate about, and my team is the Atlanta Braves, and historically a really bad baseball team for most of my life. My son in his early twenties, the Braves have been awfully good. They’ve won 14 division titles in his lifetime, and he’s 23. So more than half of his life, they’ve been the best team in their division. And he made a comment to me one time. He goes, “Daddy, it’s great that the Braves have always been awesome.” And I’m like, “Sweetheart, they have not always been awesome.” But then his life experience, he thinks this is, “We’re just great all the time. We win all the time.” I’m like, “No, we used to be the worst team in the game.” So winning a world championship last year was exciting, but I get a kick out of the younger generation’s perspective.
Andy Lawrence: Well, it’s all the sweet if you go through that period of hardship and then you get that glory period. But of course now it’s gone. So for up until now, but who knows what will happen. You never know.
Raymond Hawkins: It’ll all come full circle. I just say that I’m with him when we’re last on the table and love when we win the championship. It’s suffering through those highs and lows that makes it mirror life. Life isn’t all championships. Yeah. All right, Andy, so as much as we love football and we could spend a couple hours on football, get back to.. Well, I liked your phrase green IT. That dates you and I a little bit, but you were green before it was Cool. So let’s get back to how this ties back to what you’re doing as from a research perspective at Uptime today, as you guys handle the research for Uptime, what are the topics that you’re digging into the most? And let’s think about and talk about how those are impacting our industry.
Andy Lawrence: Well, yeah, I mean it’s such a broad topic. We find that we’re answering questions and doing calls with our members and clients on efficiency, efficiency of the facilities. We all know about the whole PUE thing, et cetera, and we could talk about that. But there’s obviously a lot of energy being consumed in the IT side. So I feel there’s now starting to be an awareness of how do we actually start to tackle that side, which hasn’t really been tackled. The utilization of the IT, the choice of hardware, the refresh cycles, the ownership of who actually owns the carbon emissions, let’s say the Kolo. Is it owned by the IT client or is it owned by the Kolo operator? There’s arguments both ways. So that’s a topic that comes up.
Also, one of the things that we find happens is happening quite a lot now is the management, executive management are making statements to the investor community or to the stock exchange saying we’re going to be carbon neutral or we’re going to be net zero by 2030 or something. And they don’t really have a fully thought out plan to do it. So they come down to the data center area and they go, “Yeah, you have to be carbon neutral in 10 years.” They don’t really know what it means. And so people are asking us, “What does that mean?” So that’s a tricky one.
The whole issue of how you buy energy and whether it’s renewable, should you buy renewable energy certificates or power purchase agreements and so on. It’s pretty complicated stuff. I mean, it’s not what people are trained for. So these are all of the issues that we are trying to get on top of. To be honest, when I started covering green IT back in 2008ish, most people were focusing on what if we change a power supply from AC to DC? Will we get a 3% energy reduction? Or what about, revolutionary idea, we’ll separate the warm air from the cold air? That was the kind of level that people were operating at then.
So the idea now that how do we forward buy 20,000 megawatt hours of solar, and how do we calculate the carbon factor and integrate into our overall energy plan? It wasn’t at anything like that level of sophistication. So these are the kind of things that we’re trying to make sense of.
Raymond Hawkins: Well, hot aisle containment certainly worked out. So that one turned out to be a good idea. I’m not so sure about the-
Andy Lawrence: That was a good one. Yeah,
Raymond Hawkins: … DC power supplies in the rack. That one didn’t seem to play out, but I appreciate the perspective.
Andy Lawrence: So I was just going to say, and we are always assessing technologies. Liquid cooling would be one. Is that going to be someone that gives you a slam dunk win or is it still too expensive and it won’t really pay off? So the new technologies is an skewed upon an evergreen topic.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. Well, Andy, you alluded a little bit to where we are now about, it’s such a complex question. How do we think about… You brought up the point of Nikola. Who’s responsible for those emissions? PUE certainly in our industry gets talked about a lot. I think that was the beginning of, “Hey, let’s think about being good stewards of the resources around us.” I’d love to get your take as you think about it at a research level, that the notion that there’s this goal carbon neutral in 2030. I don’t know that offsets is the best way to get there because you’re still emitting. What is you guys, as you dig into research, what do you think in that big complex question? How should data centers be thought of outside industry as far as being stewards of the energy we use?
Because I know that as a guy in the industry, people look and go, Wow, you guys use a lot of power. But the reality is we’re using a lot of power on behalf of all these services that the world is using. Everything that gets done on people’s iPhones is running in a building. So it’s not like we’re running the… We’re not consuming the electricity for our purposes. We’re consuming the electricity to provide a service. So how should that be thought of? And I know that was kind of a rambling question, I apologize for that.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, no, it’s a great question because it’s in a way gets at the heart of it. Because if we all believe that the consumption of this energy and the associated carbon is being done not only efficiently, but entirely for the good of the world and possibly to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere, then it’s all a legitimate thing. If on the other hand, all we’re doing is, I don’t know, cat videos, Instagram posts by soccer stars and porn obviously, or Bitcoin, maybe it’s not such a good thing. It’s a tricky one, and it’s probably not for us to answer, but I do think the data center industry probably needs to… And I know there’s no such organization to do it really, but it does need to promote itself and its value a bit better because obviously almost nothing works without data centers. So it’s a tricky one.
An aspect of this that we grapple with all the time is we hear people saying, data centers will account, if left unchecked data centers will account for 20% of the world’s electricity, or I think the highest figure I’ve seen is something like 25 or even 30% or something. But realistically, we know it’s more like two or 3%. But in some places in the world, it’s quite a lot. I mean, Ireland for example, according to their national grid, their main providers, 17% of the country’s electricity. And they’re projecting it could go up above 25%. So that is a challenge. So it is quite a big number.
When we’ve looked at it, when I’ve looked at it personally, and I’ve seen the figures from John Cooney and Eric Masanet, I don’t know if you’ve seen their work to Stanford and Berkeley. They’ve done great research. There are others who have come in Europe with a number… Well, I believe Jonathan and Eric’s number is somewhere north of 200 TeraWatt hours a year is a German estimate. That’s more like 300. There’s another that’s at 600. So you’re starting to get this very wide deviation, and it’s very hard to get to the roots of it. But I think the Cooney and Masanet researcher, I think is really quite important.
It suggests that the data center world’s use of energy is not really rising very much. I mean, it’s quite a small amount, and in fact, some years it’s fallen. And that’s really hard for most of us who are working in the industry to understand intuitively. Because look around you, there’s new data centers going up everywhere in every city, in every state, in every country in the world, every major geography. And so I do think that work needs to be done because I don’t want to criticize the work that says it’s flat without having a good scientific base for criticizing it. But it doesn’t feel right. You know what I mean? My take on it is that there’s a-
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, Andy-
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, go on.
Raymond Hawkins: So Masanet was on the podcast. I’m familiar with his research. And I would just ask you as a researcher as well… And in being in the space, I have a natural bent to want to defend the space to some degree. But what I would say is there are two things going on. One, there is new compute solutions coming into the world and going into a data center somewhere. That is certainly part of our business. But I think the primary driver of those data centers, as you alluded to, going into every country and every state, I think the primary driver behind those is the transition from compute in an on-prem customer owned facility to a cloud facility or a third party managed facility. And back to your point about, there’s lots of research, I think there’s lots of numbers. But I think it’s generally acceptable that about 63, 64% of global compute still sets in an on premise corporate owned, meaning the person who owns the building and the data center also owns the IT in it versus an outsourced facility.
And when I look at the volume of compute moving out of those facilities and into data centers, I tend to lean into Masanet’s research to say that’s probably a net gain for efficiency and for power utilization. Because those on-prem legacy data centers don’t run nearly as efficiently as what our industry is building today. And I think that’s the majority of data center growth. Now, it won’t stay that way forever, but I still think that almost two thirds of global compute, depending on whose numbers you want to use, are still in a legacy facility moving to a more efficient facility. We’ll lose that curve eventually, but I think we’ve still got some runway there. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? And I know I’m doing it at a high level, but do you think that’s a fair assessment?
Andy Lawrence: I think it’s the fair analysis of their argument, absolutely. And I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying that there may be… I think they’re a counter issues that it’s hard to track. There’s this effect of Jevons paradox. Just once you make something cheaper, more efficient, it becomes more.. It doesn’t mean that the commodity of power is used less. It means that more people can afford to use it, so there’s more compute going on. And I think that is a factor, and it’s very hard to track. It’s very hard. In conversations with the researchers, it’s hard for them to know how many of these servers have actually been moved out or closed down.
I know that when we talk to Uptime members and we’ve done surveys. Our uptime members, they have a whole mix. They have cloud, they have Kolo, and they have on prem. And we say to them, “What’s happened to your workloads?” And yes, they have closed down data centers undoubtedly, but their main data centers are often right at capacity. Sometimes they’re even building new data centers. So it’s not the case that there’s been a wholesale move. So it’s tricky. And also, let’s not forget that Uber or Facebook or all of these social media companies, Instagram or Netflix or so on, they’ve all appeared at scale in the last decade. They weren’t in any data.
Raymond Hawkins: That’s right that’s that new compute cycle.
Andy Lawrence: [inaudible 00:26:11].
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Andy Lawrence: Right. Obviously we’ve switched over to much greater multimedia and video, which has put a… So storage growth is huge. So I’ll try and come back to your original question, which is how big is it? It’s very hard to know exactly how big a deal it is. And certainly if you do it as a percentage of electricity, that’s not a good way to do it because that’s always in transition. And as, for example, cars go electric, that’s going to account for I think a lot more electricity than data centers in 10 years time, in 15 years time. So maybe not look at it in terms of percentage. I think the way that I look at it is pretty well every metric that we use to look at the data center, well, we know that it is possible to reduce carbon and it is possible to reduce energy and be more efficient. And I would say significantly, significantly.
Raymond Hawkins: Than we are being today. Yeah.
Andy Lawrence: From where we are today. So in a way, the decision that any individual operator has nothing to do with the big numbers, it’s just what can they do within their sites? And there is quite a lot of work to be done still.
Raymond Hawkins: And this you alluded to earlier, not having an industry association or spokesperson that promotes it, but that to me is as important as anything is that our industry heads in the direction that lets all operators… Let’s live up to a standard of being as the best managers of power. And my friend Dean Nelson, I think makes a great point. I think one of the biggest issues is how much we over design for. Everybody designs for some headroom at every layer. And if you start at the very base of a design and go, “Well, I’m designing 20% head room from this. And then I designed 20% into the rack, and then I designed 20% into the RPP and 20% into the PDU and 20…” You have all this level of redundancy and design that is built into our industry because people were afraid to have failure. I think we’ve got to start thinking about that. And that’s what Dean and my friends over at his business Virtual Power are trying to think through. How do we manage power differently?
Andy Lawrence: Right and I agree. The issue of provisioning, which is all built into that people don’t know how much capacity they’re going to need in six years time, so they just better build for it. That’s a lot of extra power. And I can remember Neil Rasmusson, who was the founder of APC, which later on became Schneider Electric, and I can remember him explaining all this to me back in, I think 2006. He was saying, you start with a chip and you over-provision the chip and then you go all the way up. At that point you are kind of at 97% unused capacity. So it is a big problem. Virtual power, VP, that Dean’s now the CEO of, I think is a good example, a company that I’ve been tracking for a long time. Being able to inject extra power into different places to cushion.
Also we are entering an age of much better data and much better analytics. I’m not talking about being able to forecast demand three years ahead. I’m talking about being able to act in the moment so that you can always respond if you are hitting peaks of demand, et cetera. And you can take steps. So data centers on the whole, they’re not designed very intelligently. They’re robust as hell, which is great. And obviously Uptime has played a role in that. But we do need to start using software and energy storage and being able to move workloads and all of this kind of thing to tackle the problem of too much provisioning. Because over provisioning is definitely… Not just over provisioning, but rigid over provisioning. Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. That robustness and that reliability. I mean, Andy, I can’t think of anything more important than network functionality. And we’ve been comfortable with virtual networking and software defined network for a while in the tech space. And I think that same concept has to inform how we design data centers and how we manage the power and data centers. Nothing works in the IT stack if the power doesn’t work or if the connectivity doesn’t work. And we’ve been comfortable with having virtual network assets. We should be comfortable with virtual power networks, which I think is ultimately what Dean is communicating as well. I think it would help our industry. To your point, it gets to be a big number extrapolate out. And if we could just get a little bit better at how we provision with some virtual levels of power management, I think could help our industry tremendously.
Andy Lawrence: I mean, one of the interesting things is when you look at how the hyper scales design for availability, where they will often have two or three, four data centers if you like, each replicating their workload or a tiny bit of it. It’s undoubtedly a good solution. You switch the traffic if one of them fails, but you do have to replicate the data, which could be difficult. But when we analyze outages, one of the other things I do in research as we track as many outages as we can and we try and understand what the causes were. And so we have some quite good data at Uptime for that. And one of the problems is that when you move to a software based resiliency solution, surprise, surprise, the failures start to be in software. And software is often not designed as resiliently as an engineer would design a data center.
And although often you can fix it quite quickly, I think the hyper scales, the internet giants, software has more often been at the cause of their outages than anything else. So there needs to be probably a level of discipline that you see in the data center and the engineering community needs to move into the software community. I remember when I started doing IT journalism and I used to cover some of the defense community and the high reliability software, and they had incredible disciplines for that. And that’s been somewhat eroded over the years at the speed people have just rushed to get products out. So I know Google has some great initiatives and site reliability engineering and so on, but I do think they need to get back to a more disciplined way of writing structure in releasing software that would probably help.
Raymond Hawkins: Right Andy, So two questions as we wrap up. One, still in the data center, you have mentioned a little bit earlier crypto and how they manage their power. Can you tell us from Uptime, the research you guys have looked at, just your thoughts on how should we think as an industry about crypto and how it’s being used? You alluded to earlier, are we spending electricity on something that ultimately contributes to the greater good? Just what do you guys seeing from a crypto perspective in your research?
Andy Lawrence: From crypto? So again, we have debates about this because certainly quite a lot of people within Uptime and the greater enterprise community tend to take the view, well, blockchain’s a good technology, but it’s not widely used and we’re not really responsible for all of that crypto mining stuff that’s really the real villain. And most of the mining happens really outside of the core enterprise world that we have much to do with it. I doubt a lot of crypto goes on in your data centers. I mean, I may be wrong. Most it happens in-
Raymond Hawkins: Not much.
Andy Lawrence: Most of it happens in specialist rigs and they’re often where energy is very cheap. I don’t know places like Iceland or China before it was outlawed or odd places. So it’s outside of the world of corporate responsibility in a way. However, one of the things I’m interested in is undoubtedly the corporate world wants blockchain, They want blockchain applications. They want crypto type applications for lots of different uses, not just currency. So technically, if you are using them in business, that’s a scope three carbon emission that you are responsible for.
So for example, AWS, Microsoft, and many other cloud providers, they offer blockchain as a service. Ethereum uses currently, I know that it’s intended that it will change, but it uses proof of work. In other words, electricity based mining in order to create the currencies and indeed support the transactions. So my personal view is that that is unacceptable in the modern world. I don’t think the need for blockchain is that great, but I also think there are other ways of doing it, like proof of stake. I remember saying this on a panel a couple of years ago and people looking at me, “That’s pretty radical. You’re saying we ought to ban blockchain?” And I was saying, “Well, why have proof of word that users all this energy when we have this carbon crisis?”
Anyway, since then, I’ve noticed that there have been some politicians both in the US and in Europe who have actually said we should ban proof of work. So I think A, there is case for that. And B is we ought to be asking corporates who use blockchain or who have blockchain as a service, not to use proof of work based algorithms to do their blockchain services. But it’s an area I need to research a bit more. But as far as I could see, even if they’re not doing the mining themselves, it’s still technically a scope three carbon emission that they do have responsibility for. I think for the data center world themselves, it’s mostly not an issue because it’s wouldn’t be economic to take Kolo space and do crypto mining.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, it is technically in a data center, but I think you’re right in your characterization that it’s not in what we would consider the data center industry, very specialized applications in very unique locations. They are not in our buildings on the major part. But to your point, the scope three emissions from a blockchain like service does happen in our building. So I agree with that nuance of it. All right. Far more important question. What position did you play when you were a footballer? And if we made you the owner of Man U for the rest of the year, tell us what you’d do.
Andy Lawrence: So I was a midfielder, a left midfielder. So I played to a moderate amateur standard in the UK along with about a million other people.
Raymond Hawkins: Got you.
Andy Lawrence: What would I do-
Raymond Hawkins: Midfielder. So for my American and non footballer fans, that means that Andy was in incredibly good shape and ran constantly. That’s what it means.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah a lot of running, passing. Yeah, now that I think about it, I was fantastic but [inaudible 00:38:42] my knees-
Raymond Hawkins: Andy, that’s how I remember my career as well. I was fantastic.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah it’s a cliche in England that everybody had a trial for somebody at some point back in their youth.
Raymond Hawkins: That’s right. That’s right. Very good.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah. Also most people of my age are walking around with bad knees from too much running.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, yeah. I hear you.
Andy Lawrence: So yeah, I think if I was… That I would get through the season, hope to win a couple of cups, let the current manager manage and rely on excellent youth coming through and build the team around youth. That’s what I would do.
Raymond Hawkins: So develop from within and let the youth talent rise to the top. Because as I talk to some of my Man U friends, there seems to be some frustration around, “Hey, is there a top flight coach to put in charge of the club at this point? So it seems to me you’re a little less focused on that coaching chair, a little more focused on the youth of the talent.
Andy Lawrence: No, no. They have to hire a great coach. I don’t know who to get, because the best ones are mostly sitting in great clubs. And I can’t see them moving, but you never know at the end of the season, I think they got their eyes on a guy called Pochettino who’s currently at Paris Saint-Germain if I remember rightly, formally Tottenham. I think they’ll probably go for him. I don’t know. He did some great things at Tottenham and then it all fell apart. So it’s a gamble. I wish I knew the answer and I wish I had the power to enact the answer.
Raymond Hawkins: I hear you. I hear you. Yeah, that is one thing. As a passionate fan, we see things go poorly and we think we know better. I think the folks that are making the decisions are just as passionate as we are. And just like there are gambles in our business, they’re gambles in there. So as I get older, I find I’m willing to give more grace to decisions.
Andy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. You get a bit less judgmental and a bit less enraged by some of the decisions.
Raymond Hawkins: As I see my mistakes stack up behind me, I tend to get a little more forgiving.
Andy Lawrence: Right.
Raymond Hawkins: Well Andy, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate our friendship and our relationship with our friends at Uptime, and it’s been great having us get to chat with you and understand a little bit more about your research and where your head is. It’s been great. Thank you, sir.
Andy Lawrence: Okay, thank you.