Voldemort Industries

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Google is serious about its data centers. But it’s also determined not to take itself too seriously, as evidenced by an anecdote in Oregon Business News, which examines the impact of economy in a Google data center on the economy in The Dalles, Oregon. “As you pull up to the riverfront campus, you’ll spot a Voldemort Industries sign, a self-effacing reference to the Harry Potter character known as ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,’” writes The Oregonian.

Okay, perhaps it’s not perfectly aligned with the whole “don’t be evil” motto. The sign is a reference to the use of a code name (Project 02) by local officials during the planning process for the Google data center in The Dalles. The whole cloak-and-dagger business apparently didn’t sit well with some in the community. 

“Google officials say they learned from the backlash, and make a point to be transparent when they open data centers,” the story notes. “They have also gotten involved in The Dalles. Workers volunteer at cleanups or Habitat for Humanity; a garden at the edge of the property is public; grants go to community groups. Last fall, Google hosted an open house at its cafeteria and visitor center.”

The good news – while the presence of Google hasn’t transformed The Dalles into a data center hub, it appears to have helped blunt the impact of the economic downturn in The Dalles, which has also benefited from the growth of local wind farms. Here’s a video from The Oregonian with several vignettes about the economy in The Dalles, including a look inside the office and cafeteria of the Google data center:

A New Outlook for The Dalles

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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