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Industry Insight

Looking at Clouds from Both Sides

By Richard Romano
Published: November 21, 2012

The gardener plants an evergreen Whilst trampling on a flower —King Crimson
Over at Ecopreneurist, a look at the issue of green data centers, not an unfamiliar topic here in the Going Greenosphere. One passage stood out:
To add on to its iDataCentre in North Carolina, Apple slashed and burned nearly 171 acres of woodlands to clear a way for it’s [sic] solar power array. Even worse, the solar power array will only provide a measly 24 Megawatts. This is the company running iTunes and iCloud – they will use much more power than that. So take a hint from Apple; don’t build or choose to use a data center like theirs. The financial benefit won’t be as great, and you won’t be reducing your carbon footprint by much at all.
On the other hand, Facebook recently opened a new data center in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle—if you’re going to be cooling servers and such, it helps to be in a pretty frigid environment. Everyone is looking to migrate computer storage to the cloud, and that is going to create an even more dramatic demand for data centers. The article mentions that the “data center industry now has a greater carbon footprint than the airline industry,” and while its tempting to simply put the data centers on planes and perhaps consolidate the emissions (no, it doesn’t work like that), the growing demand for “cloud computing” will more or less force data centers to be constructed in a more sustainable fashion. As mobile devices and tablets replace proper computers, storage will be one of the missing links—hence the need for cloud storage. Heck, we need someplace to keep all those cat videos and meal photos—for some reason.

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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