Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We Are Here To Serve

Yes. We are here to serve. But it will cost you.

An article in a recent issue of ieee spectrum reported that today's data center commonly requires 20MW of power while those of the dot-com era consumed 1MW to 2MW. This is because today's largest data center houses many tens of thousands of servers, with some passing the 100,000-server mark.

The article goes on to say that with electricity prices going up, it's extremely expensive to power and cool so much equipment. Market research firm IDC estimates that within the next six years, the companies operating data centers will spend more money per year on energy than on equipment.
And now you know why your internet bill is so high.
Also, the article says that the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has reported that the world's 44 million servers consume one-half percent of all electricity and produce two-tenths percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, or 80 megatons per year, approaching the emissions of entire countries like Argentina or the Netherlands.
One thing the article mentions that could help: going to DC distribution of power inside server farms. And for the same reason DC would be good for long distance power transmission: it is more efficient per unit of materials used.

2 comments:

B7 said...

I don't see what the problem is. The reason that data servers consume 10 times as much power is because they provide 10 or 50 or 100 times as much computing power.

It's not expensive to power and cool so much equipment. It might be expensive compared to powering a single laptop, but it is very cheap considering the massive computing power being provided.

One-half percent of all electricity is a lot? To run the most powerful technological system ever known in the history of the world? I don't think its a lot.

foutsc said...

Interesting article. Fast, mass storage that doesn't require moving parts would cut down on power consumption...