Web hosting company PayPerHost has revealed an early concept for fully autonomous robotic data centers that remove inefficient humans, and aim to reduce and reuse energy.

PPH told DatacenterDynamics that it has “done some calculations with [a] HVAC professional, applied for two patents and one trademark, designed it, created a marketing video.” The company is looking for investors for its ’RoboNodes’ and hopes to build a prototype.

A completely real product – RoboNodes

Robot stores

PPH says that the constant rise of energy usage in data centers is a problem that will help cause climate change, although a recent US government-sponsored report showed only minimal growth in data center energy usage.

Zsolt Szabo, CEO, said: “The server rack is more than 50 years old. There is no other piece of technology in data centers that has survived for so long.”

“Working with commodity hardware is often painful and inefficient. The idea for the RoboNodes therefore came from the need of more efficient IT infrastructure.”

RoboNodes plans to use an on-rail robot to replace custom storage and  and server nodes when they fail. The ‘nodes’ contain a custom mainboard with power and ethernet ports integrated into one port, a CPU, eight RAM slots and six SSDs.

A human would “once in a while” replace the “bath of broken servers with new ones,” with the broken nodes going for repair, Szabo told DCD.

When asked about PPH’s robotics experience, Szabo replied: “It’s not really robotics intensive. It’s basically the rail and very predictable environment.

“Maybe the robotic arm won’t be a part of the finished product, since the initial response is that RoboNodes is great but the autonomous part is overkill.”

Robots have already been introduced elsewhere, with Facebook and Sony designing robotic pickers for archived data.