Yevgeniy Sverdlik at Datacenter Dynamics has a good report that provides some more detail on the novel data center project that eBay has undertaken in Utah.
Some of the facility features are quite interesting - the use of both modular/container and traditional data center spaces, for example.
But of course it's the power equation that fascinates me, and though I don't agree with DCD that this is "glimpse into the future", it certainly poses interesting questions!
First off, the center relies on natural gas fuel cells for primary power, with the utility as backup. The claim is that low natural gas prices, combined with on site conversion of the natural gas to power at a better heat rate than a utility (and without the modest transmission and distribution losses), yield a cost-effective alternative to utility power.
I don't believe that that is at all correct, even in areas with high power prices.
I would hazard a guess that fuel cell power, even with Cheap Frackin' Gas (trademark pending!), runs at maybe just under ten cents a kWh at this scale. And remember, if they are using the grid as backup, the utility will be charging for that, and backup service is not cheap. California utility rates for any customer over a MW are right at 8 and a half cents per kWh.
The connection for me is that eBay can grow the facility in one megawatt increments using fuel cells, and they are also obviating the costs of UPS and back-up generators, which is no small capital cost reduction.
As to the environmental impacts, eBay will be able to claim essentially zero emissions (watch out for any gas leaks though!) but the energy source is of course not renewable. Putting that up against other renewable/clean options isn't a win but it's definitely a place or show.
I see that Microsoft is now looking into fuel cells too, but I'm guessing the scalability advantage, the stripped-down power delivery and conditioning scheme, and the environmental advantages are the primary drivers, not cost savings.