Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Data Centers' Power Use Less Than Was Expected

Data Centers' Power Use Less Than Was Expected
New York Times (07/31/11) John Markoff

Stanford University researchers have found that the global recession and new power-saving technologies has resulted in a reduction in power usage by data centers. The actual number of computer servers has declined over the last three years, and the emergence of technologies such as more efficient computer chips and computer server virtualization has led to the reduced power needs, says Stanford professor Jonathan G. Koomey. "Mostly because of the recession, but also because of a few changes in the way these facilities are designed and operated, data center electricity consumption is clearly much lower than what was expected, and that's really the big story," Koomey says. Industry experts agree with Koomey's analysis, but many think the slower growth might be temporary. The slower growth rate is significant because it comes at a time when data centers are being built at a record pace, mainly due to companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook operating huge data centers for their millions of users. Most data center designers use standard industry equipment, while a few companies, such as Google, build custom servers for their data centers, making them more efficient than mainstream data centers.