green internet

wind powered web
Host your web site (hold the carbon).
burly house networks
“how might an Internet & web host provider
...serve you more consciously?”

« frequently asked questions »

How and why green?

  1. In what ways does the Green-NOC qualify as a Green Data Center?
  2. Why bother?
  3. Okay, but why does Burly House concern itself with this issue?
  4. Is the energy sustaining the Green-NOC acquired truly green at the source, or do you purchase offsets?

The Green-NOC data center

  1. Is the rack of servers located in a residence, business complex or a data center?
  2. What is the Green-NOC's bandwidth capacity?
  3. Are there sites which are not appropriate for the Green-NOC?
  4. When are the solar panels due to be installed?
  5. What other features are being considered for the Green-NOC?
  6. What are the Green-NOC's weak points at this time? What improvements are planned to remedy or refine upon the weak points?

About Us

  1. What is Burly House all about?
  2. What types of partnerships do you seek?


In what ways does the Green-NOC qualify as a Green Data Center?

The Green-NOC is built using materials which have a lesser impact on the environment and health of those who contact them through their manufacture, transport, installation, usage, and eventual removal.

We provide power to our network devices and servers using electricity acquired only from renewable, sustainable sources like wind, solar and bio-gas.

We do not purchase carbon offsets as part of our green network strategy. Our aim is to to eliminate pollutants and operating costs at their source, and create a more efficient and refined hosting shop.

Why bother?

In 2005 in the U.S., network data centers consumed approximately 45 billion kWh of electricity. Around half of this energy is generated using coal as a power source.

Coal-fired power plants are the single largest industrial source of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and mercury emissions.

Through their energy consumption, data centers create hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants to enter our environment every year.

Okay, but why does Burly House concern itself with this issue?

Texas is the #1 coal-consuming and producing state in the U.S. with seventeen plants currently operating. Even today, additional plants have been proposed by utility providers which are currently being considered for permitting by the Texas State Legislature.

Although it is unlikely any single energy solution will eliminate all pollutants and other negative impacts associated with its generation and delivery, it is clear today there are available a selection of technologies which offer a reasonable alternative with much less future risk.

Imagine the global impact if we can help encourage a wide-scale market demand for Green Internet?

We call Texas home. Given our industry and personal experience, building the Green-NOC and sharing its hosting resources with others seemed to us a reasonable response to a problem which greatly impacts our local living environment.

Is the energy sustaining the Green-NOC acquired truly green at the source, or do you purchase offsets?

We are lucky to have available locally 100% green power through Austin Energy's GreenChoice program. Without this resource and local support for green energy, starting Burly House Networks would have been much more challenging.

Most of the energy is from wind farms in west Texas, though some is also derived from solar and biogas generators.

Our choice in purchasing and supporting from electricity providers who invest in green generation methods mean that "dirty" energy is not delivered into the grid in the first place.

Since the power which we have contracted is 100% green, this is not considered an "offset".

When looking into the offsets industry, there are many concerns which seem unanswered. Offsets alone are not a reliable longterm solution, as we must quickly turn the tide in the other direction. When it comes to our environment and our actions in the world we live in, "maintaining the status quo" is not a livable option.


Is the rack of servers located in a residence, business complex or a data center?

The Green-NOC is hosted in a dedicated facility built on a slab foundation located in a residential neighborhood.

This initial implementation of our green data center is designed to accommodate a short run of standard data center racks and supporting devices.

With high-density servers and other kit, a surprising amount of horsepower can be configured in a small data center like the Green-NOC.

At some point in the future - provided we are able to garner enough support from our customers and friends through this project - we plan to build a larger version based on the knowledge we gain this first time around.

The physical network lines are buried from the local carrier interface to the point of entry into our facility. Since its installation in 2004, we have weathered icestorms, floods, and heat waves and so far (with thanks for the blessings of the local deities) I am happy to report so far no downtime due to physical line failure.

The network and devices are monitored 24x7 both on-site and from outside perspective.

What is the Green-NOC's bandwidth capacity?

In our current space we can expand our bandwidth to the Internet as required. A T1 serves as our primary network connection. As our hosting operation grows and additional bandwidth is needed, we can enable additional circuits to suit (we keep hardware on-hand for expediency).

If your project really need it, dedicated bandwidth to your box or device rack is also available: T1/T3 (a T3 line is the equivalent of 28 T1 lines - around 44.736 Mbit/s.) and FastEthernet circuits are available.

We do not oversell our bandwidth. Each monthly bandwidth GB leased is alloted to only one customer. Additionally, we do not sell 100% of our total available network bandwidth. A reserve is set aside, to help reduce the impact of any temporary spike or surge in traffic.

Are there sites which are not appropriate for the Green-NOC?

Mission critical operations which under no circumstance should ever go down (period) are not really appropriate given our current setup.

For instance: if you host a service which is critical to saving lives, or a system which protects key safety infrastructure, the Green-NOC is not an appropriate host for you. We figure this applies to (warning: wild approximation) 0.1% of those who host Internet services.

If you are of the other 99.9% who are looking for a reasonably suitable solution which doesn't require twenty layers of redundant resources, months of backup fuel, and a nuclear response plan.... The Green-NOC is built to well support your Internet hosting project!

It is our opinion that many of the features of a large-scale data center are largely theatre and overkill for the average web site. No matter how sophisticated the system, unexpected failures can and will occur. Many times, the extra layers of redudancy can actually cause more problems when things go wrong. For instance, early in 2007 one of the largest data centers on the west coast which hosts globally-popular web brands went offline due to generator failures, even though the generators were tested each month.

Our mission is to serve you well, provide insight and advice about your Internet service, keep the network running smoothly, and most importantly - do it all Green.

The Green-NOC is supported by techs with over fifteen years of hands-on experience building and hosting network services. Simply put: this is what we do.

When are the solar panels due to be installed?

The current plan is this year 2008. We will initially install enough solar panels to operate the entire Green-NOC, with plans to expand on-site green power generation over time to support future growth.

What other features are being considered for the Green-NOC?

In addition to on-site solar generation, we are researching additional technologies for installation as part of the Green-NOC system:

What are the Green-NOC's weak points at this time?
What improvements are planned to remedy or refine upon the weak points?

The T1 we utilize for our network connection represents a single point-of-failure. Since our operation began in 2004 we have experienced a single 4 hour outage due to a hardware problem with our upstream provider. As such, our servers were inaccessible for this short period.

We have enough batteries in our UPS to manage electrical outages in the 4-5 hour range (now 5-6 hours; additional capacity acquired in September of 2007).

In such a situation biodiesel generator would be used installed as emergency backup. In the future a clearner-burning natural gas generator is being considered in the event that long-term backup power is required.


What is Burly House all about?

In short: At Burly House we want to take part in computing and software projects which represent a public good - that is, those which reflect practical benefits into our community and the world we live in.

Further, we hope to sustain ourselves and together provide more-conscious employment opportunities for tech idealists who wish only to practice their trade to the benefit of others if only the support were available.

There is too much fallout in the tech sector - the culture has evolved in such a way where respectful employment supporting human health is not reflective of the industry norm.

Burly House hopes to offer a better deal. We will try, at least. ^_^

Burly House is very much in startup mode, and our mission is bold. We do not claim to be experts, but we are serious in our work. Do you have thoughts on how we might improve the return of these lofty goals? If so, please contact us - we would like to hear and consider your thoughts.

What types of partnerships do you seek?

Our expertise lies in Internet technology, web sites and custom software.

We want to help those who are working to improve in their community and the world.

By forging partnerships with others whose mission is synergetic to our own, we hope our efforts will have a greater effect than we could achieve by operating alone within our specialization.

2007-07-27

burlyhouse.net FAQ by Nathan

(corrections & edits applied on 2007-10-15, 2008-06-09)

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indie & green since 2004 in austin, tx.

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