Datacentres greener than expected thanks to recession

By Stuart Sumner
01 Aug 2011 View Comments
The interior of a datacentre

Datacentres are using less energy than predicted, partly due to 2008's financial crisis, according to a new report.

The report, by Jonathan G Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University, found that the US Environmental Protection Agency's prediction that datacentre power consumption would double between 2005 and 2010 was wide of the mark and that consumption actually grew by just 56 per cent during that period.

Further reading

The report also credits modern power-saving technologies for the lower energy consumption.

Virtualisation, where multiple virtual servers exist on one physical server, was cited as one of the technologies responsible.

The economy, and virtualisation technologies, resulted in fewer physical servers being installed.

"The 2008 financial crisis, the associated economic slowdown, and further
improvements in virtualisation led to a significant reduction in actual server
installed base by 2010 compared with the IDC installed base forecast published in 2007," wrote Koomey in the report.

In 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency predicted that the rapidily expanding base of internet users would cause datacentre power consumption to double between 2005 and 2010.

However the report found instead that the electricity used in datacentres grew by 56 per cent in that period.

It added that electricity used in global data centers in 2010 accounted for between 1.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent of total global electricity use.

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