Datacenters are growing at an exponential rate in the US and around the world. Greenpeace, a non governemental organization with its offices in about 40 countries aiming to conserve the planet and its natural resources is calling on IT gaints such as Google, Apple and Facebook to use renewable resources to power their datacenters.
These datacenters are designed to run 24×7 with approximate 99.99% uptime. The majority of its electricity comes from the utility companies with use coal to generate the same. The increase in such critical demand of electricity will eventually increase the carbon foot print harming the planet, the group claims.
With rapid growth in IT, the carbon foot print tends to increase with more computers being placed and used by consumers on a daily basis, however most of the computers turn off or use power saving modes to reduce their power consumption. However datacenters are quite different with the systems and the servers running at max capacity at all times. This means constant supply of power without interruption. Data centres will use an estimated 1,963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020, claims Greenpeace which is more than the power being consumed by France, Germany, Canda and Brazil combined, says an activist.
Cloud computing is the new concept everyone is aligning to these days. With iPhones, email, documents and even books being stored online at some remote site and easily accessible on your mobile devices; it is those remote datacenters that hog up the electricity.
Two prominent internet giants are under fire for the same. Facebook and Google. Facebook announced their development of a custom-built data center inPrineville, Oregon. Facebook claims that the site will be extremly energy efficient but the utility grid company supplying the power uses coal, infact more coal than the US average. The cooling system is considered to be state-of-the-art which uses fresh air rather than traditional air conditioning, with an evaporative cooling system to be used when the climate is too warm. Microsoft also employs a similar system in its Dublin-based data center.
Greenpeace has setup a facebook site to petition facebook to not use power from the local grid however facebook argued that it is impossible to do so because they must reply on the power from the grid which generates electricity by burning coal. ”
Apple and Google are also under fire from Greenpeace. Google runs approximately 50,000 servers and Greenpeace questions how many of those are powered by coal. Apple and Google were not available for comment. Not all the datacenters fall under the same category. For instance Microsoft has a data centre in Quincy, Washington which it operates on hydropower while Yahoo uses hydro power for its new data centre in Buffalo, New York.