Monday, April 15, 2013

Cloud Computing Data Centers: Power Guzzler?

Here is an interesting post from outlook on the power hungry data centers You’ve probably heard of cloud computing—a popular way now to access data stored elsewhere from your device. Its mention evokes an imagery that is benign and endearing, like rain-bearing clouds. A beguilingly naturalistic metaphor for technology. For, what’s actually entailed in cloud computing are millions of square feet of energy-guzzling data centres filled with whirring hard disks that require a lot of electricity to run and be kept in ambient temperature. 

And they are leaving beh­ind a carbon footprint the size of the last cumulonimbus cloud you saw. Data centres have been around since the days computers began to net­work, a mother hard disk that several users drew on or accessed at the same time. The advent of internet and its gro­wth have only made them larger. Today, it is where your inbox lives and where your bank account details are recorded. But they are now set for the next big leap in India with cloud computing. As people begin depending more on their smartphones and tablets (instead of laptops and desktops), manufacturers are under pressure to augment storage space. Eager to draw in more buyers, they now promise additional space on ‘clouds’—their data centres that you can access through the internet from your device. Soon, this is where your photos, worksheets, music and videos will live, not just your e-mail. This growth is what has some worried about the kind of energy that will be needed to keep these growing number of machines running. As it happens, global cloud computing, back in 2007, was already consuming more power than all of India was.

Data centres can either be captive, i.e. be located at the firm’s office, or be a third party one, where data is stored at a centre run by another firm specialising in hosting services. Some common examples of firms with data centres would include nearly all banks, research laboratories and transport services, like the railways and airlines. Most of the energy consumption at data centres goes in powering the servers and running air-conditioning to keep them cool. While all of them have batteries as back-up, they even store diesel on site now for any emergency. But these centres in India have increasingly become notorious for gorging on power to cool machines that are anyway demonstrably under-utilised. For complete article see here

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