Tuesday, August 26, 2014

America’s Data Centers Consuming Massive and Growing Amounts of Electricity

Multi-tenant data centers save money while adding competitive advantages.  (Credit: Flickr CC user BobMical) Click to enlarge.
Much of the massive amounts of electricity that America’s data centers devour to support our business and online activity is being wasted running computer servers doing little or no work most of the time, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Improved energy efficiency practices could cut energy waste by at least 40 percent, saving over $3 billion annually.

“Most of the attention is focused on the highly visible hyperscale ‘cloud’ data centers like Google’s and Facebook’s, but they already are very efficient and represent less than 5 percent of U.S. data center electricity consumption.  Our small, medium, corporate, and multi-tenant data centers are still squandering huge amounts of energy,” said Pierre Delforge, NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency.

  • Data centers are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the United States.  In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity -- enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over -- and are on-track to reach 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020.
  • Some large server farms operated by well-known Internet brands provide shining example of ultra-efficient data centers.  Yet small, medium, and corporate data centers are responsible for the vast majority of data center energy consumption and are generally much less efficient.
  • The largest issues and opportunities for energy savings include the under-utilization of data center equipment and the misalignment of incentives, including in the fast growing multi-tenant data center market segment.
  • To move forward, systemic measures such as the public disclosure of efficiency metrics are necessary to create the conditions for best-practice efficiency behaviors across the data center industry.
America’s Data Centers Consuming Massive and Growing Amounts of Electricity

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