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Two things need to be said about these images of data centers--the server storage areas for tech giants--just released from Google: a) They're breathtakingly beautiful, and b) They're a breathtakingly beautiful PR push.
It's not a coincidence that these images are being released after a report from The New York Times about the wastefulness of data centers. Only a fraction--6 to 12 percent--of the energy used in such centers, The Times reported, went to computational services. Facebook was slammed by the investigation, but so was Google: The search company uses almost 300 million watts to power its centers, and it doesn't always go to good use. "[D]ata centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid," they wrote.
So it's not surprising that so many of the images released by Google would highlight efficiency and environmental friendliness--water vapor means "our cooling towers are at their most efficient," while several photos show the tech that goes into keeping the servers cool.
But they're still a lovely look at the rarely-seen centers, even if the glasses you're looking at them through aren't so rose-colored.
What do they mean by wasteful? I believe most of the energy they need would go into cooling and not computing so tell me how that is wasteful? no cooling = no google
Ah, to never truly be alone again. What Google data base doesn't know about you, our USA NSA will learn while listening to our conversations.
Hi Big Brother! Please take good care of me!
I could use a friend. ;)
Did you have to go down the NYT trap ? Saying that there is a ton of waste in data centers is not unlike saying that we should reduce lanes on highways because having them not filled to capacity outside rush our is so wasteful (which by NYT's and your argument is wasteful). Have you stopped for a moment to think that consuming the least amount of electricity and any other resources that are primary cost centers is top of mind for any internet company and is heavily weighed against the cost of not doing so? Google and Facebook are among the top innovators in energy efficiency in computation and along with Amazon and many others are trying to figure out how to monetize/utilize the most out of the infrastructure they have to operate to operate their core businesses at the quality and availability level that is expected by everybody (or would you care to explore the scenario where google is not available) ?
There are countless analyses pointing out how poorly researched and detached from the reality of operating on "internet scale" the NYT article was. I expect better reporting from PopSci.
I have been working with electronics, computers, programing and IT facilities over 25 years, sometimes the opportunity or need of technology infrastructure grows so rapid toward the profit margin and the hindsight for cooling or power requirements cause an 'O-shit', when something goes wrong, somebody else makes a red flag, or it just cuts into the profit. Then it gets its due attention.
By the pictures, it does seems the local IT kinds are trying to do things right.
It is all rather pretty!;)
Thank you warum26 and Robot. It doesn't seem to occur to authors of "green" articles that the companies themselves have more compelling reasons to reduce their power consumption than the greenies do. In fact, data centers worldwide consume less energy than they were predicted to several years ago, partly because of the recession, but mostly because the companies find ways (all by themselves!) to improve the efficiency of all aspects of the data centers. One of the beauties of a free market/free economy is that companies and individuals will, of their own accord, constantly improve the quality and efficiency of their products. In other words, they become more "green" every year. The payoff for consumers is not only a smaller impact on the environment, but less expensive products too.
Costs go up and efficiency declines usually as a result of either a monopoly or counterproductive (in other words, most) regulations. In a free, competitive market, the natural tendency is for efficiency and quality to improve and costs to decline. If you have trouble with that concept, take a look at the Internet, which is probably the best example of a virtually unregulated free market. Today you can stream high definition movies on your computer for free at numerous WiFi cafes or other hotspots, consuming data at a rate that would have cost you thousands of dollars a month 15 years ago.
Greenies love to worry about problems that pretty much take care of themselves given a little patience. But we all love greenies, right? They taste like free range chicken.
Your argument is only valid if the money spent on increasing efficiency generates a savings that makes it all worthwhile. There's always a point where the return on investment (from a purely financial point of view) falls to 0. For some industries, that just means not processing their waste as much as they could, but for other industries, it means dumping their waste in the river.
Like the vast majority of choices society has to make, the answer to the question of regulation doesn't lie in the extremes. Too much regulation would indeed be stifling, but too little would be stupid.
And "greenies"? Grow up.
Of course the answer is how to turn that "wasted" energy back into electricity. One way is to use it to heat low temp refrigerants type liquids in a closed loop turbine system to generate power or even incorporate thermoelectric power modules at the very sources of heat.