June 21, 2008

Stealthly data centres


Everyone is looking for carbon emissions in all the wrong places.

Forget power stations, brown coal, oil and its multitude of wondrous services and products, forget hairspray, forget cow burps.

Data centres.

Yes, data centres, my friends.

Data centres will kill us in the end.

The interwebs is evil after all.

So, step away from that hyperlink, that www address, send your ISP provider into poverty, disconnect from the network: YOU are killing the planet!

"The problem is that most computers in data centers run at 15 percent or less of capacity on average, loafing the rest of the time, though consuming electricity all the while. (In the old days, when they housed a few large computers, data centers were far more efficient. Mainframe computers run at 80 percent of capacity or more.)

The computers also generate a lot of heat, so much so that half of the energy consumed by a typical data center is for enormous air-conditioners, fans and other industrial equipment used mainly to cool the high-tech facilities.

The nation’s data centers doubled their energy consumption in the five years to 2006, exceeding the electricity used by the country’s color televisions, according to the latest government estimates.

The availability of electricity, not just its cost, presents a threat to the continued expansion of data center computing that can hamper companies across the economy, as they increasingly rely on information technology.

Based on current trends, by 2011 data center energy consumption will nearly double again, requiring the equivalent of 25 power plants. The world’s data centers, according to recent study from McKinsey & Company, could well surpass the airline industry as a greenhouse gas polluter by 2020."

Demand for data puts engineers in spotlight

Meanwhile, from the distant mists of time, we can reveal that the very first hyperlink was a catalogue card, the interwebs started life in paper form, catalogued and manually built, maintained and searched by human labor.

The web time forgot

Of course, let's never forget that William Gibson invented cyberspace on his rusty manual type writer.

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