As most of you have probably heard by now, the New York Time’s piece on data centers wasn’t exactly accurate. And more than a little intellectually dishonest, to boot. In spite of that, it did raise one very, very good point..
There is no such thing as the cloud. There is no such thing as data that exists solely in virtual space. There’s always a physical backbone somewhere, there’s always some sort of infrastructure supporting ‘cloud’ operations.
Given how big cloud computing’s gotten and how vital the Internet has become to everyone, well…
That’s a lot of hardware.
Of course, that hardware needs power, as well – and it draws a considerable amount in order to keep itself running. Data centers in the United States alone are responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions annually, and they draw enough electricity to power 25,000 houses, to boot. A staggering volume of energy and pollution – perhaps not so dire as the New York Times made it out to be, but still a cause for some concern. Particularly since the mammoth facilities have the potential to scarf down even more power and produce as much as 350 megatons of CO2 by 2020, if left unchecked.
Thankfully, data center operators across the world are aware of this, and have for quite some time been taking steps to address the issue of energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. It’s why green computing has become such a big thing lately.
Our infographic today examines the green computing craze side-by-side with the global impact of the cloud on our environment, energy infrastructure, and society. Power’s the main concern here – it is called “powering the cloud” after all – but it’s still got some decent information on efficient computing, coupled with a few rather nifty stats. You can view the infographic below. As always, click to enlarge.