Here's a startling statistic: If all the cloud computing services in the world were an actual country, that nation would be the about the sixth-largest electric power consumer in the world.
NPR reports that researchers at Greenpeace place the cloud right after Germany and before Russia.
That staggering volume of power consumption is driven by the massive data centers that store data around the world, allowing users to pull up documents and apps anywhere. The New York Times reported that in 2012 the cloud consumed 30 billion watts of power, as much as is produced by 30 nuclear power stations.
This has already led to some drastic measures by big data center users. Facebook has located a data center just outside the Arctic Circle to take advantage of the naturally cooling temperatures. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) now powers its cloud with a mix of solar, hydro-electric and wind-generated electricity.
The trend towards more distributed data centers might make it easier to co-locate the storage end of the data center with solar power set-ups, wind farms and hydro-electric power plants. The front-end servers and a fast connection would be in urban areas, while the storage would be in rural areas where it easier to find and fund a power source. (See Reliance Rebrands With Its Head in the Cloud.)
Nonethless, it's worth asking just how we'll keep powering the cloud as it continues to get bigger.
brookseven, User Rank: Light Sabre 4/24/2014 | 9:31:03 AM
Re: Big v small And Dennis I would add we need to keep up with technology.
Let me give you an example: http://engineering.osu.edu/news/2013/06/ohio-state-pushes-clean-coal-technology-ahead
This could make coal of all things one of the best sources of clean energy that we have. I think assuming that technology won't change all of this is bad. If I use nuclear as an example, I lived in South Florida for about 15 years. Turkey Point Nuclear Plant took nearly a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew and was just fine. The Japanese plants got hit with their issues and that was a problem.
mendyk, User Rank: Light Sabre 4/24/2014 | 8:49:21 AM
Re: Big v small We've lived with nuclear power for more than a half-century now. Without it, our world would not be what it is, for good and bad. We are now 99.8% dependent on electric power to function as a society. So we're kind of stuck with it.
noLandMan, User Rank: Lightning 4/24/2014 | 6:15:10 AM
Re: Big v small I was with you all the way... until you brought up nuclear...
Let's keep that one out until someone figures out how to neutralize nuclear waste... you really don't want to leave in a 2mile radius from a nuclear plant, and you don't want a nuclear waste facility in your backyard either, so what would you do?
noLandMan, User Rank: Lightning 4/24/2014 | 6:08:47 AM
Re: Big v small This has always been my concern about outsourcing Power Consumption and Carbon Footprint along with it. Once the enterprise relies on the outsourced data center, the power consumption goes to the cloud service provider, and so does the CFP. Same happens when you promote other interesting green initiatives such as Working from Home. The CFP is transfered to the employee who has to get power/cooling/heating under their roof to work, along with the extra networking needs (which also require power) to get vpn'd to work.
Question is, does the cloud need to be the giant we're building today, or can we live with less?
smkinoshita, User Rank: Light Sabre 4/22/2014 | 8:33:09 PM
Re: Big v small @mendyk: Yes, it's relatively small area overall -- and I imagine the management and politics involved would probably keep it from being efficient for awhile unless everyone got on board. One or two parking lots wouldn't amount to much -- but it could be a different story entirely if all the lots or entire stretches of highways had solar panels overhead.
mendyk, User Rank: Light Sabre 4/22/2014 | 7:42:19 PM
Re: Big v small The solar farms now being created generally are being built on open land -- as is the case with Apple's two farms in North Carolina. Using barren land like deserts also is happening, and that makes sense. And I also agree that installing panels on developed properties is a good idea -- but that will provide a small percentage of the power we now require.
brookseven, User Rank: Light Sabre 4/22/2014 | 6:38:57 PM
Re: Big v small Dennis,
Hydro is considered such an environmental issue that nobody (in the US anyway) is building new Hydro power. Solar has the capital and space issues. Wind has space, sightlines, and killing birds issues. Both wind and solar have storage issues. Nuclear has waste and other safety concerns. Fossil fuels have global warming issues.
And of course costs are not equal between sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.