back to article Cold? Cuddle these HOT GERMAN RACKS, yours for only 12,000 euro – we swear there's an IT angle

A startup in Germany reckons it's found a, how can we put this, courageous way to merge cloud computing with staying warm at home this winter. Rather than throw another log on the fire, you can install one of its toasty server cabinets in your basement. Assuming you have a spare ten grand and a 50Mbps pipe to the internet. …

  1. returnmyjedi

    Darn it. Nearly bought a house last year and the only thing that put me off was it's hot air heating system. If only I'd had the foresight to replace the boiler in the cellar with a few racks.

  2. Mr_Pitiful

    My warm office

    I've decided to do this in my office!

    20U rack, 5Kva UPS, 2 HP 1U servers & 1 4U management Console

    External Temp is 11.6c, Internal temp is 24.6c

    Lovely and warm in here

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The mother of all resilience schemes

    This also provides pretty good resilience (if engineered correctly).

    Nice :)

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Cloud&Heat believes it can save on data center facility and cooling costs."

    Given that their rent is effectively negative and paid up front they're saving more than that.

    " Once the installation fee is paid... for a period of fifteen years."

    And what if C&H goes permanently titsup in significantly less than 15 years? That's €12,000 down the drain for their landlords - and maybe the German equivalent of the bailiffs knocking at the front door to demand the racks.

  5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Nothing new here, move along

    Newcastle University used the heat from their water cooled IBM 360/64 and later the 370/168 to help heat Claremont Tower back in the 1970s.

    One of my kids uses his gaming rig to keep his bedroom warm without having the radiator turned on.

    Both different in scale, but similar in concept.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing new here, move along

      I worked in an office heated by a Prime 2250 (usually referred to by it's code name "Rabbit") a couple of (oh $DIETY! nearer three) decades ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing new here, move along

        It wasn't by any chance accompanied by other Prime systems named things like "Beef" (and "Winalot", IIRC) ??

    2. Dr. Mouse

      Re: Nothing new here, move along

      One of my friends had her gas fire in the living room condemned. She started looking at options. One was a nice, pretty "digital" fire. It had a screen, showing images of flames. When asked about heating, the guy avoided the question, until he admitted it put out 200W.

      We then specced up an alternative: 32in TV hooked up to an overclocked PC with high end graphics cards, running something like SETI@Home, plus the ability to be hijacked to do video transcoding or other intensive jobs. It cost less than half the "pretty fake fire", but put out (IIRC) 800W of heat and did something "useful" with the power.

      We never built it, but it was a nice little project to spec out.

      I applaud this project. The only thing wrong with it, IMHO, is the installation costs. Sounds way over the top.

    3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Nothing new here, move along

      In the early 1980s my workplace was using an Array Processor: massively parallel arithmetic for e.g. Fourier transforms. It drew about 2KW of power, The first thing we did on a winter morning was to switch it on.

    4. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: Nothing new here, move along

      I still do that now, though had to go back to 4.8ghz after cooking a watercooler running 5ghz. So close

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting solution

    The other option is to transport the heat from a datacenter to nearby houses - easily done in places where you already have the infrastructure to transport waste heat from powerstations to homes.

    How often do they visit to replace systems or their parts?

  7. Anonymous Blowhard

    Business model could catch on

    My kids have just sent me an invoice for "home heating" and "draining hot water tank"...

  8. Anonymous Coward


    ..I pay you €12,000 for you to put your kit in my building and in return I get to save about a couple of hundred euros a year.

    How about you pay ME €12,000 to provide a secure place to put your racks and in return any savings I make on heating, minus the costs incurred cooling the place during the summer, and I'll rebate that amount.

    Sounds little fairer to me.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Compare the €12k to the cost of a conventional heating, i.e. the initial investment, maintenance, energy. As you and the article mentioned, the real open question is cooling during the summer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So...

      Basically you're paying them to store servers in your house, which you will probably be financially liable for if they became damaged in any sort of way and the fun is you could be hosting absolutely anything. It could be a real mystery box the contents only known to the NSA. Could be Kim Dot coms MP3 collection, the latest Star Wars film or Rolf Harris's holiday photos you simply won't know until the NSA kick your front (and eventually back door) in all in the name of protecting good old America from terror

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: So...

        @AC, I guess that's why they are located in Germany only. I would hope that all the data is encrypted, preferably already when arriving and never be in clear text at the hosts' places. That should protect both their clients and hosts. Well, one can hope...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So...

          @AC, I guess that's why they are located in Germany only. I would hope that all the data is encrypted, preferably already when arriving and never be in clear text at the hosts' places. That should protect both their clients and hosts. Well, one can hope...

          Didn't make a difference with Tor did it? I'm sure I read they were targeting people who merely routed the packets if their contents were deemed dodgy

  9. Undergrid

    So wait... You have to pay them so you can host their hardware in your building and then they will turn around and (I assume) sell time on those systems (whether hosting or cloud compute) to others? In my experience it's the people that want hardware hosted somewhere that do the paying, not the other way around... Who's going to fall for this one?

    1. Oninoshiko

      I'm glad I wasn't alone in this thought

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm sorry but I replaced the entire central heating system in my 5 bed house for less than the £9500 install costs with enough left over to run the system for the next 4 years at current prices.

    I can't see many homes opting to back the economics of this.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Madness

      Lucky you, our new gas system last year cost around 9.5K Euros (with the laying of the gas pipe) after the old oil system finally gave up the ghost, after 20 years service.

      Oil would have worked out as expensive as the gas system + laying the gas pipe.

  11. John Sturdy

    Computer-powered Aga

    One company I worked for in the past had an old country house for its main office, which it had to get renovated (OK, the "had to" was the asbestos removal bit, but I digress). The MD was an Aga enthusiast, and the kitchen was next to the machine room, and they looked into cooling the machine room with a heat pump concentrating the heat into an Aga just one wall away. Would have been nice in the winter, not sure about the summer though. And they ended up going for conventionall AC anyway (probably cheaper to install).

    1. Bob H

      Re: Computer-powered Aga

      I think the question here is can someone demonstrate effective heat transfer? If it is possible to do more than just create warm water and actually turn the water hot then there might be some money in this. I'm uncertain about the value of €12k but I've been wondering for a while now if this business model could work and someone is actually trying it out.

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