SOA News Desk
How Green is Google, SOA, SEO? How Green is My IT?
All of that Googling Comes with a Footprint
By: Roger Strukhoff
Feb. 19, 2009 10:00 PM
This article was authored by Chuck Rogers II, who writes on a variety of topics from his home somewhere in America. The article was originally published in NOW Magazine (www.nowmagnow.com), which retains all rights.
It Still Takes Power
Recent power issues in the UK, for example, have created problems in keeping data centers up and running. A recent power shortage Manchester forced data center operator UK Grid to create strategies for generating its own power. The company is now considering investing about $9 million USD in combined heat and power plants to support a center the city's Northern Quarter alone.
Meanwhile, Dresdner Kleinwort is moving its data center out of London's Docklands area in an effort to lower electricity costs and improve power reliability. The investment bank will relocate in Watford in addition to another facility in Camberley, supporting the company's entire UK operations. The move reflects actions taken by a number of other large businesses as power reliability and energy costs in London have become challenging.
Amazon's S3 utility storage service now holds more than 10 billion objects, after surpassing the 5 million mark in 2007, up from a mere 800 million in July 2006. S3 offers storage space to serve as the backend for web applications, and is part of a broader suite of utility infrastructure services offered by the giant Internet retailer. Yet Amazon finds itself constrained by demand rather than capacity. Amazon said that more than 290,000 developers have signed up to use Amazon Web Services since its launch in March 2006.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Your life wasn't much different if you were a server at a Google data center, with the top five searches being American Idol, YouTube, Britney Spears, the 2007 Cricket World Cup (think India), and Chris Benoit.
So there are slight cultural differences in the user demographics of these powerful search sites. None the less, they were generally searching for the same sort of thing. For sure there are very good academic and business searches happening on a daily basis as well. Yet, not so many. "The Vast Wasteland" of early 1960s TV (in then-FCC Chairman Newt Minnow's memorable phrase) has been joined at the hip by the Interwebtubes.
This leads to the question: is the Worldwide Web as "green" industry as many might think? For example, recent research has shown that an avatar on Second Life and an average real-life Brazilian both use the same amount of electricity. Of course, the avatar is not "alive" 24 hours a day, but it clearly does have a significant effect on the environment.
Worldwide, the electricity demanded by data centers supporting cloud computing requires the resources comparable to 14 power stations, which in turn emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as the entire airline industry.
So it's no wonder that Google built a data center near the Dalles Dam, a hydroelectric power plant in Oregon. Google can buy electricity from the plant at a fifth of California prices, as well as using the cool Columbia River water to run the eight multistory cooling towers designed to handle the heat created from all the important searches we do daily.
All this for pop culture.
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