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Thread: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

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    News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    The physical requirements of the cloud are detailed by The New York Times.
    Read more.

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    “For example, the U.S. General Services Administration, recently switched its approximately 17,000 users to Google Apps for Government and was able to reduce server energy consumption by nearly 90 percent and carbon emissions by 85 percent. By moving to cloud services, that agency will save an estimated $285,000 annually on energy costs.”
    The thick of it: this would be just shifting resources, not really reducing much anything. Nice spin, though. Mr Hölzle should be in government. Regardless, interesting read Cheers!

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    Datacentre designs have been changing significanlty over recent years with the server farm cooling designs changing to only cool the server racks rather than the entire datacentre and with significan amounts of server virtualisation becoming much more common. It's entirely possible that the USG's move into cloud land has resulted in the listed savings.

    We need only look at AMD and Intel's drive towards lower power computing for servers to see how the world is progressing. Moves to use SSD based SAN units are also reducing heat waste and use significantly lower power.

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    Fascinating figures from The New York Times but a better analysis from The Verge and Urs Hölzle I think.
    Tim Carmody, writing on The Verge says that The New York Times article, while fascinating in its findings “presents a distorted and outdated view of the internet and cloud computing”. He says the Times focuses on the frivolous uses for the internet and misses the point of the cloud as “an increasingly-essential element of infrastructure, powering industry, government, finance, and commerce.”
    I'm going to agree wholly with the two quotes above - quite frankly the fact that the NYT saw fit to run this story in that form makes me glad that it's "safe" behind Murdoch's paywall.

    I particularly like the accusation that the public are to blame for this because they/we just won't reduce the amount of digital trash we're keeping! From my experience most mail, photo and other file stores, have limits on the amount of stuff you're allowed to keep before having to pay a larger subscription. Which surely is a good way to force folks NOT to keep umpteen different copies of that embarrassing photo of Auntie Nellie.

    The NYT article is also nicely ignoring the fact that most (/all?) of the big datacentre players are trying really hard to reduce power consumption since that costs money, and obviously hits them in their "bottom lines". E.g. a very quick Google search shows stuff like http://www.computerweekly.com/featur...uper-efficient
    Quote Originally Posted by howdee View Post
    The thick of it: this would be just shifting resources, not really reducing much anything. Nice spin, though. Mr Hölzle should be in government. Regardless, interesting read Cheers!
    Utter tosh! The whole point of the cloud migration (reported elsewhere) was that they were also doing a server consolidation and modernisation exercise. So - putting it simply - that's LESS servers than before, and each replacement is a more modern, and therefore more power efficient model. I'm sure I also saw some talk that they were also going from conventional servers to blades - in which case there's also arguably a saving due to less PSU losses.

    Speaking from personal experience, I'm seeing a LOT less projects putting in their own dedicated servers. Modern IT architect thinking seems to be more towards virtual machines, (VMware, LPAR's, Zones, etc). The servers themselves are operating at a lot higher utilisations too - because that old chestnut about 10 servers running @ 20% now means that it's far, far easier to spot that and allocate those "spare" resources to another 10 (or 20, 30, etc) servers with no impact on service.
    Last edited by crossy; 25-09-2012 at 03:02 PM.

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Utter tosh! The whole point of the cloud migration (reported elsewhere) was that they were also doing a server consolidation and modernisation exercise. So - putting it simply - that's LESS servers than before, and each replacement is a more modern, and therefore more power efficient model. I'm sure I also saw some talk that they were also going from conventional servers to blades - in which case there's also arguably a saving due to less PSU losses.
    I suspected the quoted savings on energy costs would be "on site" and didn't account for expenses made "in the cloud" (off site), plus possible additional costs of running more networking equipment required. I just found this quote a bit misleading. Surely there was some modernization in the process and with it possible savings; having a single figure isn't enough for us to really know though, is it? "Cloud" (as a word) might be hip nowadays same as "consolidation" was a few years back, an essential word in any self-respecting PowerPoint presentation (if that's not an oxymoron?), it does not however magically lower costs of ownership. It certainly can, I'm not trying to say it's a poor concept by any means. After all, as they say every "cloud" has a silver lining

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    I saw the headline and immediately thought "hmm, lets build 60 more such power stations and make the internet even better"
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    Quote Originally Posted by howdee View Post
    I suspected the quoted savings on energy costs would be "on site" and didn't account for expenses made "in the cloud" (off site), plus possible additional costs of running more networking equipment required. I just found this quote a bit misleading. Surely there was some modernization in the process and with it possible savings; having a single figure isn't enough for us to really know though, is it? "Cloud" (as a word) might be hip nowadays same as "consolidation" was a few years back, an essential word in any self-respecting PowerPoint presentation (if that's not an oxymoron?), it does not however magically lower costs of ownership. It certainly can, I'm not trying to say it's a poor concept by any means. After all, as they say every "cloud" has a silver lining
    All true. As you say, the "sharp suits" in accounts sometimes have this marvellous ability to develop myopia - a classic (in my book) being the proud announcement (I won't name the company) that they'd done their bit to reduce the total (US ?) carbon foot print by moving their data centres to somewhere in the developing world.

    Similarly there's a tendency to say "stuff it in the cloud" and assume that all your problems/costs will magically float away leaving you with a single charge to cover everything. Best explanation I've seen is that cloud tech - because it's inherently leveraged - allows you to reduce the overall wastage. So rather than 10 companies having 50% server wastage, you can squeeze in another 5, up the utilisation (which reduces costs), and no-one's the wiser because server response is just as good.

    Hopefully Darwinian forces will come into play here - so the companies that do "good" cloud solutions will thrive (and in my book "good" = "efficient") and the cowboys will die off.

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    Re: News - The Internet uses 30 nuclear power stations’ energy output

    I'm sure this report's findings will just add to everyone's broadband bill.

    Makes me wonder how many power stations are needed just for Stephen Fry's Twitter account too.

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