Internet Energy Consumption (Full Version)

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Ruphus -> Internet Energy Consumption (Jan. 16 2016 7:28:55)

Lately, on a Canadian environmental documentary it was mentioned what energy merely e-mail traffic takes.
Unfortunately, the numbers escaped my mind, but it was sheer mind-blowing.

Now, days ago it was mentioned that internet takes equally as much energy to conduct like the world´s civil aviation.
Can you imagine that?

Just think of the power emitted through the turbines of a single plane ...
From what I think to recall there are being 200 000 aircrafts in the air, constantly any time of day and year.

Think of the power consumed by 200 000 airplanes in a minute, and how we are causing the same consumption behind our laptops when online. Still hard to envision for me.

Lesser even that out of all the up to date, modern way of communicating and informing relies on fossil resource.
With google´s and facebook´s servers demanding enormous quantities of electric current these companies entertain their own power stations.
Which are based on what?
The other point hard to believe: On coal burning.

Companies on whom funds literally fall on like out of the blue, with budgets so immense and instant in abundance like never before anywhere ... These days, with all that´s to be known about the global environmental situation ... With a literally self-evident option to set on sustainable energy supply for diverse reasons ... Dismissed the opportunity of planting the internet on a most obvious energy concept, and chose to determine out of all the internet as a giant polluter.

Guess the noble glossing tombstone of this planet will be engraved with:
"Some could not get enough, ever".

HemeolaMan -> RE: Internet Energy Consumption (Jan. 18 2016 14:35:28)

Fun anecdote about data centers/servers and power consumption:

Apple used to have a data center for "mobile me" which morphed into the iCloud product. It was it a semi rural area and so they opted to use solar panels as one source of energy. Of course, the difficulty with having many solar panels in a grassy field is that the grass grows and eventually obscures the light.

How to solve this problem? Well, lawn mowers were too indelicate to get in and around the panels, trimmers were just too labor intensive, and push mowers were out of the question. What did they do?

They hired some local sheep to come eat the grass!

You do have a point. I often think about how my career in technology is an entirely consumption based model. Computers are left running at all times, lights are left on, servers run 24/7/365. The energy has to come from somewhere. Most data centers with a serious business model have two separate diesel generators and two separate fuel suppliers in case a disaster wipes any one of them out. Think about that... Those places are committed to providing 100% uptime and 100% connectivity. What an incredible amount of energy that takes!

Consider also the amount of electricity required to cool a place like that... Immense. In Chicago there is actually a large chilled water distribution network that encompasses much of the downtown area. This was from many years ago but has found new relevance for financial and tech companies who need to keep their buildings and servers cool. It stretches for miles... just chilled water flowing through insulated pipes.

Ruphus -> RE: Internet Energy Consumption (Jan. 18 2016 17:05:07)

I think to have seen that there are already late server rooms without cooling issue.

Sometime in the early nineties, when I started sniffing out the state of computer tech, I was surprised to note that there were still heat emitting devices at all.

And in a way it is anachronistic, isn´t it.
Even though delayed, I guess the computer era without heat emission is about to start out.
And hopefully solar tech may be making an essential leap too, so that the whole energy problem may develop towards nobrainer and to almost as free a source like sunshine itself (even if some corporates may not be liking the idea at all). Something in the guts tells me that it mustn´t be too far to there.


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