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. “Electricity used in global data centers likely accounted for between 1.1 percent and 1.5 percent of total electricity use, respectively. For the U.S. that number was between 1.7 percent and 2.2 percent,” according to the report.
In an earlier paper, Mr. Koomey reported that the power used by servers in data centers represented about 0.5 percent of world electricity consumption in 2005. When cooling and auxiliary infrastructure were included, that figure was about 1 percent, he wrote.