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May 16, 2011

Figures for a Web Farm Future

Nicole Hemsoth

Although it might not just focus on cloud computing alone, we wanted to draw your attention to a rather stunning infographic that emerged from data center sustainability company, ABB.

When it comes down to it, the statistics below are more tied to cloud computing than it might seem. After all, this year alone there will be approximately 5.7 million servers installed to do the job of serving web applications. As that market continues to grow exponentially, creating a need for “cloud” data centers (those built specifically for handling the needs of remote web versus enterprise computing), figures like these will keep finding their way into mass circulation.

The problem is, we all know that every tweet, Facebook post or email wastes x amount of energy, but since the Internet is pervasive—a “can’t live without” technology akin to electricity itself, there must be more powerful innovations in the realm of green data center design—the question is:  how we do we get there at the data center level?

Much of what you see above is demonstrative of some of the massive waste inherent to modern data center design. Of course, remember that the ABB group is a power and automation company that is focused on reducing data center footprints.

While they have a direct stake in presenting this kind of information, being reminded of figures like the ones below in particular are worth keeping in mind:

Data centers worldwide use around 80 million megawatt-hours of energy each year, which is just about 1.5 times the amount used by all of New York city in the same time frame.

When it comes to the 5.7 million new servers dedicated to delivering web services, only 10% of these are used due to overly conservative capacity planning.

Full story at ABB