Sunday, September 27, 2009


Data Center Energy Requirement

Just ran across this article, “A look at the nonstop acceleration of Internet technology,” which also serves as a window into problems building in this area. As with everything else, readers are invited to check out the links themselves. Here I’ll just mention one part that describes how much power data centers need.
A lot of energy is required to run the Internet cloud. According to Stanford University’s Jonathan Koomey, Internet data centers use about two percent of our nation’s electricity, and usage is increasing at about 15 percent a year. Growth in Internet use is thus overwhelming the efficiency gains of Moore’s Law and generating a significant and growing carbon footprint.
The “two percent” figure refers to the US, so of course the amount of power used globally will be much larger. But 2% growing at 15% annually is nothing to sneeze at. More significantly, this passage also underscores the functioning of Jevons paradox by noting that efficiency gains are being quickly gobbled up by expanding internet use.

The author also makes some observations on the growth of cloud computing, which will not only require still more data centers and power, but create new problems of its own.

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