While I’ve written on the potential (and significant limitations) of cloud computing in relation ICT4Peace previously it’s never quite easy to get one’s head around the power consumption of behemoth data centres that actually power the “cloud“.
It’s not just Second Life that consumes more power than an average Brazillian. A single data centre of Google alone (leaving aside those of Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon and other internet giants) can by 2011 can consume about as much as 82,000 homes in the US according to a recent article by Harpers Magazine. The numbers are mind boggling:
“Based on the projected industry standard of 500 watts per square foot in 2011, the Dallas plant can be expected to demand about 103 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 82,000 homes, or a city the size of Tacoma, Washington.”
Though there’s some (semantic) confusion with regard to the actual consumption of power, it’s indubitable that these data centres will collectively consume an incredible amount of energy to keep the cloud as well as the Internet and web growth alive. Harper’s Magazine makes it clear that Google is not above manipulation to get deals on cheap energy – energy that is generated in some countries by fossil fuels.
And here I thought that cloud computing was environmentally friendly.