Power Hungry: The Growing Energy Demands of Data Centers

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Data facilities have become an indispensable part of modern computing infrastructures. With more and more organizations turning for cloud solutions, uk colocation services, and compliance assurances, it is no surprise that the amount of data centers is expected to grow significantly within the next two to five years.

With so many new info centers on the horizon, it is worth considering the harsh realities of data center power consumption. Even with improvements in renewable energy options, the truth of the matter that both small and large data centers consume a LOT of power.

Data Center Power Consumption: By the Numbers

In 2017, US based info centers used up more than 90 billion kilowatt-hours of power. To give some perspective on how much energy that amounts to, it would take 34 massive coal-powered plants. On a worldwide scale, data centers electricity consumption roughly three percent of power generated on Earth. For context, data centre energy consumption across the globe equates greater than most of the energy absorbed by the United Kingdom, an industrialized country with over 65 million people.

That is a Whole Lot of power. And as more facilities are built every 17, it is only likely to increase in the future. Those power needs could become a problem, with 80 percent of the planet’s energy being generated by fossil fuels. Fortunately, while maintaining their energy usage at reasonable 22, data center providers are working tirelessly to meet the needs of consumers.

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On the plus side, these massive data center energy intake figures are much better than past projections. Between 2010 and 2005, US data centre energy use grew by 24 percent. The past five years were worse, with energy use. However from 2010 to 2014, overall data center energy consumption rose by a four percent.

Much of these gains are the result of efficiency improvements. A 2005 Uptime Institute report found that many data centres were badly organized that only 40 percent of chilly air intended for server racks actually reached them in spite of the fact that the centers had installed 2.6 times as much cooling capability since they needed. Since that time, data center energy efficiency has increased through the use of solid state drives and processors rather than turning drives by up to 80 percent.

Improvements in server technology, specifically server virtualization, has also delivered substantial improvements in data center power consumption. The servers of today are not just efficient and more powerful, but better information management practices have made it feasible to use more of the total capacity of every server. Considering the transfer to data centers effective at leveraging sustainable energy solutions has caused a huge spike in server spending, it’s reassuring to know that centers will be receiving everything they could from the hardware.

Consolidation also played an important role in keeping power demands under relative control. In favor of on-demand or colocation services, organizations have abandoned private data centers and server cabinets with the rapid rise of cloud computing. As most of these solutions conducted on inefficient and energy-hungry legacy hardware, exporting their IT infrastructure centers been shown to be a net positive in terms of efficiency.

Looking to the Future

Unfortunately, these efficiency improvements signify”low-hanging fruit” that has already been plucked. The most easy and most viable efficacy changes have been executed, causing the efficacy tendency to flatten in the past couple of years. Google, for instance, boasts an impressive PUE of 1.11 across its data centers globally, which is only slightly off the perfect score of 1.0. It does little to address overall data centre power consumption, which continues to increase each year while this score is an accomplishment.

It’s not yet clear what impact developments like Web of Things (IoT) devices and edge computing will have on power usage. Designed edge data centers will incorporate efficiency best practices, but because most IoT devices are located in data centers, they often are not taken into consideration when measuring data centre consumption.

Many information centers have made a commitment to renewable energy options by turning into sources of renewable energy. Although the present nature of renewable energy in the US makes it difficult for data centre providers to rely upon it as a key source of electricity, there are a number of ways, such as the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), it can be employed to supplement energy needs to enhance the overall carbon footprint of facilities. Despite all the advancements of the century core fundamentals of calculating architecture have gone unchanged since their invention. Processors, by way of instance, are becoming stronger and smaller, but they still operate according to the very same principles as ancestors and their bulkier. Now the opposite is true where their transistors were once much slower compared to the wires connecting them. Many experts believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Though data centre power consumption will be an issue in the future, the twin trends of consolidation and efficiency practices have significantly reduced the overall impact of these facilities. Where information centers were once expected to push energy demands to unsustainable levels, developments in data center energy efficiency during the past decade have created an opportunity to research and implement long term solutions which will continue to enable data centers to serve the demands of the companies and customers who rely upon their services.

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