Servers In Outer Space — Are Server-Sats Ready To Launch?
from the latency,-much? dept
Given that California’s largest energy utility, PG&E, has invested in energy satellites that would beam energy down from space-based solar electricity generators, it shouldn’t be too surprising that servers in space might be just around the corner as well. On the optimistic side, servers in space would have abundant solar energy which wouldn’t burn fossil fuels — unlike traditional datacenters, which are estimated to consume almost 2% of the electrical power generated in the US. But on the practical downside, orbiting communication satellites have a latency of almost a quarter of a second (240ms) for geostationary altitudes. There’s not much technology for getting around the speed of light, even if lower orbits are considered. Plus, there are the obvious drawbacks of launching rockets and not being able to upgrade the hardware. So server-sats are a nice idea, but hardly ready for commercial ventures just yet.