• Web to go green in energy generation

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    What do you think are the big internet companies doing when they say they are going green? One single Google search query consumes 2 to 8 watt-hours of energy. To put this on a scale, Google processes petabytes of information on a daily basis while indexing the web and doing other various things. If we average this out to 4.5 watt hours per query, and consider Google is easily handling 400 million queries a day based on comScore metrics, then we can see 1,800,000,000 (1.8 billion) watt-hours of energy being used daily just for basic search queries. When a big company like Intel or Google refers to “greening” or “going green” with their server technologies the first step is finding a renewable or more efficient power source. Generally wind-power and biomass come to mind, but we’re going to need more than that to power the web as you can already see. You have to remember that a website like Youtube doesnt just rely on some hard disks spinning in some guys dorm. The amount of heat produced by these data centers is another intimidating issue we have to face… With the currently technology available we’re forced to use AC units and massive cooling centers to keep all of the servers at around 70 degrees or less. The hot air gets pumped out of the centers and usually outside, although some companies are finally using this excess heat to power office buildings and heat up pools in surrounding areas.

    Again, this is a good step and recycling is always ideal… but what about all this heat? Shouldn’t the focus be on creating less heat rather than reusing the heat more effectively? A great deal of power used at these data centers is used in the cooling process alone, sometimes even more in cooling than actually running the servers. There’s a debate as to whether to use forced air cooling or liquid cooling, but either way you’re using a ton of power to cool off your servers. There has got to be a much more reliable energy source to keep us from slowing our searches.

    Posted in Topics:Gadgets and Tech, Tags: on May 14, 2008