There are many enormous data centres around the world that use a substantial amount of electricity, and also produce a phenomenal amount of CO2. In order to rectify this problem, those that own the data companies must learn to do this much more efficiently.
Some have said that the cloud will be coming back to the earth with a proverbial bump. In this place where the data is stored, the place from which we get our movies, and our files, there are literally hundreds of these data centres that are enormous which are causing problems on the planet.
There are many data centre design services that we all rely upon. These typically do not have any windows and they are found around the world from Iceland to Las Vegas. They are the companies that are allowing us to have digital services. They cost about $20 billion to operate.
In some cases, over 1,000,000 ft.² will be filled with servers that will consume a substantial amount of power. They actually consume as much as 2% of all the electricity that is used and produce a large amount of CO2. The traffic that we have around the world is doubling every four years, and that is because the Internet and those that use it are growing fast.
It is likely that you don’t even know that you have a data centre near you. There is really no way of knowing where your Netflix movie is coming from, or what type of energy it is using, whether this is from solar power, coal power, plus they have to power all of the coolers that are used.
Many people talk about the deep materialisation of the world’s economy, stating that this physical analog staff is going to be rapidly replaced by digital data, yet it will still leave a very large ecological footprint. In fact, the global IT industry, if it were actually a country, only the US and China can contribute more damage to the climate according to Greenpeace in an article that was published last year.
It takes a lot of energy to analyse, process, move, and store all of this information. There is a substantial amount of it. There are enormous data centres that you can actually hear humming, utilising more than a thousand megawatts of energy to keep going. That much energy, used to power the servers, as well as the buildings, is quite expensive.
If you think about keystrokes hitting the keyboard, even these are contributing to the problem. For example, Google has said that when people use their search engine service, this can use as much as a 60 W lightbulb that is on for nearly 20 seconds which produces CO2 in the amount of .2 g. Now that may not seem like a lot, but with so many people searching, this is very problematic.
As of today, Google is considered to be data-lite. This is because streaming videos are really what you need to focus upon. Companies like Cisco, and other IT companies that track this information, believe that 82% of all of the traffic, by 2021, is going to come from streaming which is up from 73% just a few years ago. Therefore, in North America alone, one third of all Internet traffic is literally because of Netflix.
As more companies begin to boast about 100% uptime, they should be more focused on using renewable energy. There are some that have made pledges, and they will hopefully be able to fulfil these objectives. Cloud giant Switch, back in February, runs a total of three of the 10 best data centres, recently announced that they are going to use solar power that is produced in central Nevada.