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Server electricity use skyrockets

February 15, 2007

A new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, released today, reveals that the electricity used by server computers doubled between 2000 and 2005. The report, which appears to be the most definitive assessment of data center energy consumption yet produced, underscores the growing importance of energy efficiency in effective IT management. The report's author, Jonathan Koomey, told Technology Review, "I was surprised by the doubling. I expected some growth, but not quite as large."

The increase in power consumption is largely attributable to the proliferation of cheap servers, according to the study:

Almost all of this growth was the result of growth in the number of the least expensive servers, with only a small part of that growth being attributable to growth in the power use per unit. Total power used by servers represented about 0.6% of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2005. When cooling and auxiliary infrastructure are included, that number grows to 1.2%, an amount comparable to that for color televisions. The total power demand in 2005 (including associated infrastructure) is equivalent (in capacity terms) to about five 1000 MW power plants for the U.S. and 14 such plants for the world. The total electricity bill for operating those servers and associated infrastructure in 2005 was about $2.7 B and $7.2 B for the U.S. and the world, respectively.

The estimate that servers account for 1.2 percent of overall power consumption in the U.S. is, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, considerably lower than some previous estimates, which put data center power consumption as high as 13 percent of total U.S. consumption. It should be noted that the study, underwritten by AMD, looks only at power consumption attributable to servers, which represents about 60% to 80% of total data center power consumption. Electricity consumed by storage and networking gear is excluded. The study also excludes custom-built servers, such as the ones used by Google. The number of servers Google runs is unknown but is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

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Comments

Nick, this is more reason for us to move to your vision of Utility Computing,,,but as I write below, the hardware vendors and the outsourcing vendors will likely continue to try to sell "the new improved, fuel efficient generator" rather than utility...which would smooth out peaks and valley of fuel consumption across many customers, allow for specialized energy optimization etc. Not to mention, be far more efficient in "people fuel" which frankly, is still a much bigger cost in data centers than the power variety

http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2007/02/utility_computi.html

Posted by: vinnie mirchandani [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2007 10:24 AM

Nick, a shorter version of above link is below

http://tinyurl.com/2urzxr

Posted by: vinnie mirchandani [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2007 10:27 AM

Not to worry. Google is on the case again! http://services.google.com/blog_resources/PSU_white_paper.pdf

-joel

Posted by: Joel P [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2007 02:45 PM

Hi Nick,

Whilst this article talks about servers, I thought I'd let you know about an idea I've put in action to hopefully get people to use desktop computers more efficently. KyotoPotato is a game which gets users to turn off their computers to win (obviously when they are not using them). Take a look at http://kyotopotato.com.

Thanks,

Gary

Posted by: Gary [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 18, 2007 03:57 AM

"Electricity consumed by storage and networking gear is excluded"..how about air conditioning?

Posted by: photoncourier.blogspot.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2007 06:12 PM

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