Light Reading

The Hungry, Hungry Cloud

Dan Jones
4/22/2014
50%
50%

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.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(33)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 9:38:17 AM
Re: Big v small
Yes -- we need to pursue all available options to keep up with our insatiable energy requirements while trying to keep the planet habitable.
brookseven
50%
50%
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.

seven
mendyk
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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?
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/22/2014 | 9:57:27 PM
Re: Big v small
The sad part about it is, that when we see it as problematic, that's when people tend to do nothing, and see it as a potential solution.
smkinoshita
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/22/2014 | 7:44:27 PM
Re: Big v small
Yes -- we need to pursue all these imperfect solutions. To pretend we can rely on the least-objectionable energy sources is, um, problematic.
mendyk
50%
50%
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
50%
50%
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

 

seven

 

 

 
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Jonestown
Happn takes location-based dating to a whole new level -- maybe a level too far.
Tech IPOs could suffer if stock market losses prove to be more than just jitters.
Cellphones and rollercoasters don't mix.
One from our WTF department! Marshall -- the amp maker -- intros an Android smartphone.
Consumers have no way of knowing if the aftermarket Sprint phone they're buying will work on the operator's network -- and that's burning Sprint's MVNOs.
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


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 ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


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 ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


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.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice
Iain Morris, News Editor, 9/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.