With Yogi Berra I’ve always believed that to be the case. So when Adil Najam called to ask me to contribute to a book on futures, my first reaction was to refuse. But I was persuaded. Data centers powered by cheap electricity and cool climes on the Southern slopes of the Himalayas featured large in the story. I had a good time working on it but I also feared something coming at me sideways.
Even countries like Sri Lanka have 300 MW energy plants. The power generated by Bhutan’s Tala dam is more than 1000 MW. Looks like the data centers are more efficient than we thought. I’ve had little time for people who criticize energy use of web search. Earlier writing was without too much data, because data was not available.
Data centers are what cloud computing will run on. They are what we hope will be located on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, making use of the cheap hydro that is plentifully available, political circumstances permitting. But of course, less electricity use is better. Fueled by an insatiable demand for new Internet services and a shift to so-called cloud computing services that are largely hosted in commercial data centers and in the large data farms operated by companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, there has been an increasing discussion about the growing percentage of the nation’s electricity that will be consumed by vast data centers being constructed at a record pace. But the new report indicates that electricity used by global data centers in 2010 remained relatively modest.