An article in the New York Times carried reports on the enormous amount of energy usage and wastage by data centers across the world. The data centers were infuriated looking at the negative tone and impact that this article was likely to cause. The Forbes magazine came out strong on these allegations, and in support with the data centers listed in the article. Google and Facebook seemed to be on top of the New York Times energy wastage hit list.
On the contrary, it is unfair to just blame the newspaper for the supposedly baseless allegations. Yes, it has missed out on some important facts like the energy efficiency programs imbued by these centers in their facilities. Without sidelining the facts revealed by the newspaper; it can definitely add some spotlight into the amount of resources that these data centers are quietly consuming.
Data centers require energy and power to provide the necessary online services to its end users and clients. It is a different story for the end user to understand when data centers talk about energy consumption. The contemptuous energy wastage by data centers is of least importance or rather hidden from the end user.
Data center operators look for low cost, reliable, and sustainable energy resources when choosing a site to establish a data center. Only when the operations start, do they realize the amount needed (which drastically rises with new service additions), and the energy saving norms that they need to adhere to. Data centers operate full time on full capacity irrespective of their needs. Some servers have found to be operating on a stand-by mode for several months in a row. Data center operators feel the constraint of not being able to fix the problem. This ultimately leads to significant energy wastage.
Operators carry preconceived notions of operating the facility at full blast to enhance their performance irrespective of the massive energy demands. Energy wastage is the only outcome of such audacity.
Air conditioning facilities at data centers are turned on for long hours to keep the servers at a much cooler temperature than needed. Lighting facilities are a major hindrance to the power saving objective.
Looking at these factors, it would in a way be right to say that NYT article has made a conscious effort in annihilating energy wastage.
The article was capable of bringing about some stunning revelations about the data center industry, and not to forget the radical changes in conservation. Facebook’s North Carolina data center has been on top of the list of energy efficient data centers. Microsoft has been touted to remove all the diesel generators used for lighting from its facilities, and replace them with natural lighting (during the day of course) or renewable energy coupled devices.
The top notch companies like Google, eBay, Go Daddy, Apple, Yahoo have pledged to forego exhaustive sources of energy and deploy energy efficient programs. Artificial air conditioning systems are being replaced with natural cooling from outside (keeping the demographic conditions of the region in mind) or some sort of indirect evaporative air handlers.
However, the Internet industry has made and is making some fastidious efforts in reducing their carbon emissions and carbon footprint. The objective of embracing green technologies, to an extent, has been achieved.
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