Making Data Simple
Yuval Bachar, founder/CEO of ECL: Exploring the Future of Data Centers, Edge Technology, and AI-Driven Infrastructure Innovations
The episode covers Yuval Bachar's journey as the founder and CEO of ECL, a leader in sustainable data infrastructure. It explores the concept of off-grid zero emissions data centers powered by hydrogen and highlights the advantages and challenges of this innovative approach. The episode also discusses the integration of AI in data centers, the importance of sustainability, and future trends in the industry. The leadership style of ECL and its vision for the future are also presented.
ECL offers a unique approach to data infrastructure
ECL is building the world's first off-grid zero emissions data center powered by hydrogen, creating a new category of sustainable data centers.
Hydrogen enables real zero emissions
The use of hydrogen as a fuel source allows ECL to achieve true zero emissions, making it an environmentally friendly solution.
Shorter planning cycle for data center construction
By bypassing utilities, ECL can deliver ready-to-use sites in six to eight months, providing customers with flexibility and faster access to advanced technologies like AI.
AI integration in data centers requires careful consideration
While AI offers tremendous benefits, transitioning to AI-controlled components should be done cautiously to avoid potential challenges and biases.
ECL is creating a blueprint for sustainable AI deployments
ECL aims to integrate AI into mega data centers in a sustainable way, setting the standard for environmentally friendly AI deployments.
ECL's leadership style promotes transparency and teamwork
ECL's result-oriented leadership style fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration, with every employee having shares in the company.
Future trends include denser data centers and localization
The industry is expected to see a jump in density of data centers and a shift towards localization in urban areas within the next few years.
Consolidation of small data center operators is anticipated
Larger data center operators are likely to acquire smaller ones, leading to consolidation in the industry.
Redesigning data centers for new hardware and applications
As technology advances, large data center operators will need to redesign their facilities to accommodate new hardware, applications, and external suppliers.
- Yuval Bachar and ECL
- Off-Grid Zero Emissions Data Center
- Green Hydrogen Delivery and Data Center Features
- Advantages of Sustainable Data Centers and Challenges Faced
- Disruptive Engineering Moves and Future Trends
- Integration of AI in Data Centers and ECL's Role
- Leadership Style, Future Trends, and Contact Information
Yuval Bachar and ECL
00:03 - 07:30
- Yuval Bachar is the founder and CEO of ECL, a leader in data infrastructure.
- He has worked at Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, Cisco, and Juniper Networks.
- Yuval focuses on self-healing data centers with machine learning and AI.
- He is passionate about driving efficiencies and sustainability in digital infrastructure.
- ECL is building the world's first off-grid zero emissions data center powered by hydrogen.
- Yuval discusses technical advances and initiatives in the industry to create a sustainable digital structure for the future.
- He explains his experience working at major tech companies like Microsoft and Facebook.
- Yuval left Cisco to have a stronger influence on how data centers are built by joining Facebook.
- He started ECL during COVID-19 to create a new type of data center that hasn't been done before.
- The fundraising for ECL was done through Zoom meetings due to the pandemic.
- Molex company and Hypervised Ventures are among ECL's investors.
- ECL focuses on both data centers and edge technology solutions.
Off-Grid Zero Emissions Data Center
07:13 - 14:38
- Edge data centers provide local processing capabilities and reduce the need for backhauling data to the public cloud.
- ECL is an off-grid, zero emissions, sustainable data center powered by hydrogen.
- The use of hydrogen as a fuel source enables ECL to achieve real zero emissions.
- ECL has a multi-stage cooling system that significantly improves efficiency with a PUE of 1.05.
- The average PUE in the United States is one, meaning ECL's overhead energy consumption is significantly lower.
- Hydrogen is sourced from major suppliers in the US through pipe delivery or truck delivery.
- ECL aims to use green hydrogen delivered by trucks operated with hydrogen.
Green Hydrogen Delivery and Data Center Features
14:13 - 21:30
- The goal is to have green hydrogen delivery to every location in the United States within 18-24 months.
- The data center has fault tolerance measures in place, including redundant systems and backup power.
- Hydrogen on site can be stored for 4-7 days and can be generated on site as a backup.
- Multiple hydrogen suppliers are contracted to reduce the risk of delivery failure.
- Hydrogen storage tanks have safety mechanisms and are safer than diesel tanks.
- The data center can host a variety of workloads, from high-density AI racks to traditional servers.
- The data center will be complete in the next six to eight weeks with customers lined up ready to go.
- Hosting costs at the data center are optimized and competitive with traditional co-locations.
Advantages of Sustainable Data Centers and Challenges Faced
21:03 - 27:54
- Energy price goes up, hydrogen price goes down, making energy generated from hydrogen more cost-effective than grid power in the future.
- The initial bootstrapping of the project involved theoretical work and simulations, which was not very expensive.
- The seed investment was used to cover the expenses of building the site and bringing in equipment.
- The company's pitch is that they offer the first and only fully sustainable data center that operates 24/7/365.
- There are no competitors that can build sustainable data centers anywhere like this company can.
- The company is creating a new category of data centers that are fully sustainable, enable high rack density, provide management software, and deliver ready-to-use sites without utility delays.
- By bypassing utilities, the company can deliver sites in six to eight months instead of the typical two to three years planning cycle for traditional data centers.
- This shorter planning cycle allows customers to optimize their hardware purchases and take advantage of trends like AI without waiting for years.
- Traditional data center commitments require booking two years ahead of time, but this company offers flexibility with a one-year timeline based on customer needs.
- The major challenges faced by the company were securing a supply chain for hydrogen and educating people about its safety measures compared to traditional data centers.
Disruptive Engineering Moves and Future Trends
27:30 - 34:55
- The traditional data center industry is resistant to disruptive engineering moves.
- Many people with the know-how and experience in building data centers are not willing to take the risk of creating a new type of data center.
- The lack of power in certain locations in the United States has resulted in an unexpectedly high demand for off-grid data centers.
- The hydrogen-based solution for data centers has exceeded expectations and is progressing quickly.
- Building a data center can now be done on smaller land parcels, opening up more opportunities for remote locations and city centers.
- Fiber connectivity remains a challenge, but accessing small parcels near fiber distribution points provides an advantage.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is used both in managing the data center operations and meeting customer demands for AI applications.
- AI is changing our lives and is here to stay.
Integration of AI in Data Centers and ECL's Role
34:33 - 41:51
- AI is here and it doesn't go away. We need to prepare for it and make sure we can enable it in the best way possible.
- AI will increase the power consumption of data centers dramatically in the next two to three years.
- AI is a tremendous tool if used properly, but it can be biased depending on how it's programmed.
- Transitioning to AI controlling more components should be done carefully to avoid significant challenges.
- AI can be integrated into mega data centers in a sustainable way, with a focus on sustainability.
- There is an opportunity to put a sustainability sticker on AI deployments, and ECL is creating the blueprint for that.
- The founder is the most important factor when investing in startups and technology.
- The CEO's co-founder brings knowledge in power generation and delivery, balancing out enthusiasm with caution.
- The CEO played drums, was a soccer referee and coach, and enjoys watching movies and traveling to Hawaii.
Leadership Style, Future Trends, and Contact Information
41:31 - 45:27
- Hawaii is my favorite place in the world.
- The speaker's favorite places are Hawaii, Florence (Italy), and Barcelona.
- The speaker can be contacted through ecldc.com.
- The leadership style of the speaker's company is result-oriented, with zero politics and full transparency.
- Every employee in the company has shares in the company and works as one team.
- The speaker predicts a jump in density of data centers and localization into urban areas within the next two to three years.
- Consolidation of small data center operators by larger ones is expected to happen.
- Large data center operators will need to redesign their data centers to accommodate new hardware, applications, and external suppliers.