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Ultra-Efficient Datacenters And Servers, But In The Future Will We Need Them?

Publication Date: 
December 12, 2013
Ben Kepes

Research Fellow Jonathan Koomey is cited by Forbes on comments he made at the recent "How Green is the Internet" symposium regarding the  the amount of electricity used by the Internet around the world.

Sometimes the solution to a problem involves thinking completely outside of the box. Case in point the rapidly increasing quantity of data that exists, recent studies suggest that by 2017 there will be 3.6 billion people online, 19 billion global machine-to-machine network connections and 1.4 zettabytes of information being generated online. At the same time, Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, recently told the “How Green is the Internet?” symposium held by Google that the internet uses around 10% of the world’s electricity (up 25% in a little over a decade). Put this ever increasing deluge of information, and the corresponding increase in energy consumption together and you have a real cause of concern for those who operate data centers at scale – indeed Gartner research recently identified skyrocketing energy demands and costs as the #1 concern for data center operators globally.

So. What is the solution? Traditional approaches have been to make data centers as efficient as possible. Data center operators have invested heavily in creating highly efficient facilities – I had the pleasure of visiting one of the best examples of ultra efficiency last year at the SuperNAP facility in Las Vegas. The other approach has been at the server level – in recent years there has been a plethora of low power server developments, just the other week Servergy release a new class of servers boasting the highest performance-per-watt available. According to the company their new server line saves up to 16X in server energy and space costs over traditional systems.