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AMD Report Pegs Global Data Center Energy Costs at $7.2 Billion

U.S. data centers and their associated infrastructure consumed five million kW of energy in 2005, the equivalent of five 1,000 MW power plants, according to Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, AMD, revealing findings from a report (PDF)  that measures the energy consumed by national and global data centers annually. That five million kW of energy use resulted in total utility bills amounting to $2.7 billion, with total data center power and electricity consumption for the world estimated to cost $7.2 billion annually.

The report was written by Jonathan Koomey, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, using data from IDC.

If current trends continue, the amount of power to run the world’s data center servers could increase by an additional 40 percent by 2010, CIO Insight reports Jonathan Koomey as saying. Between 2000 and 2005, according to Koomey’s research, the average amount of power used to fuel servers within the data center doubled. In the United States, that represented a 14 percent annual growth in electrical use, while worldwide use increased by about 16 percent every year.

The Alliance to Save Energy also released a report this week on data center energy consumption.

“Though we have long known that data centers worldwide consume a significant amount of energy, AMD believes Dr. Koomey’s findings are a wake-up call not just for the IT industry, but also for global business, government and policy leaders,” explained AMD’s Allen. “This study demonstrates that unchecked demand for data center energy use can constrain growth and present real business challenges. New generations of energy-efficient servers are now able to help provide IT departments with a path to reduce their energy consumption while still achieving the performance they require.”

Data Ceneter Energy Use Background: 

Government involvement in computer efficiency is increasing. Earlier this year, in a letter to computing-industry representatives, the EPA said it “is initiating its process to develop an Energy Star specification for enterprise computer servers. President Bush signed a bill that urges Americans to buy energy-efficient servers, and the Department of Energy has begun trying to get involved in helping companies become more energy-efficient. Technology companies including Google, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard met with DOE officials last month to discuss fears that volatile and expensive energy could hinder the tech sector.

Computer companies have also been rolling out new energy-efficient products recently. Dell has unveiled two PowerEdgeservers that the company says underscores its commitment to environmental responsibility and its goal to design the most energy-efficient products.

Dell’s not alone – manufacturers such as IBM, HP and Sun have made recent announcements concerning the energy efficiency of their systems. IBM recently announced that it would launch a new business unit in 2007 that will focus on environmental technologies. Hewlett-Packard announced a new energy management system, dubbed HP Dynamic Smart Cooling, that’s designed to deliver 20 to 45 percent savings in cooling energy costs. In addition, Sun has unveiled its Project BlackBox.

Most recently, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced that it is leading a nationwide coalition of utilities to tackle energy efficiency programs for the high tech sector, focusing on data centers and incentives for energy efficiency.

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