It turns out that Henry Ford's genius is a gift that keeps on giving.
The man who famously revolutionized manufacturing with the development of the assembly line, has also influenced how some companies deploy their servers. Hosting.com, for example, found an old Denver Model T factory was perfectly suited as a home to one of its data centers. And Microsoft is reducing the cost of its own data centers by applying Henry Ford's practices to how they're built.
In a video (embedded below), Hosting.com Chief Operating Officer Joel Daly explains why his company picked the Denver location. The old Model T plant had a lot of the "good characteristics" needed, he said.
"First and foremost is the amount of power that comes into the facility, which is probably the most important criteria whenever building and selecting a location," Daly said. With 14 Megawatts coming in, the site is among the most power-dense locations in the Denver metro area. And because the building was created to house heavy-duty manufacturing equipment, it was and is structurally sound enough to house Hosting.com's equipment. The location near downtown Denver isn't bad, either.
But it's not just Ford's factories that are well-suited to modern data centers. In 2008, Michael Manos, then-General Manager of Microsoft, explained how the company was applying Ford's ideas to its data centers over the following five years. The key to the new approach was a shift away from custom data centers and toward a modular approach. "In short," he wrote "we are striving to bring Henry Ford's Model T factory to the data center." Manos' Ford reference may be mostly metaphor, but it still underscores the industrialist's lasting impact on business practices.