The Energy Cost of the Internet

Channel Hopper

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Whilst the article doesn't bring much that's new to the table, this one sentence actually shocked me

About 2.5% of all European energy is sucked up by servers in data centres. This is expected to grow to 5% by 2019.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26616911

It reminded me of this article from Scientific American

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/thinking-hard-calories/

where the human brain consumes about 20% of the overall calorific intake.

So, (efficiency aside) all we need to do is extrapolate when the data centres, the satellites, wifi points and mobile phone masts come close to using a fifth of the energy generated, and we can detarmine the point at which Skynet has a viable chance of taking on mankind for world domination. From the figures given in the article this could be before the end of the next decade.
 

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2cvbloke

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It's hardly surprising that energy use for the internet has gone up and will go up even more, as cloud storage services are storing more and more of peoples' data, they need to have more and more servers running, so they will of course have to use more power, cos it's just too hard for people to store their data on local storage (SD cards, USB pendrives, external HDDs, etc.), which uses a lot less energy... :-lol
 

Channel Hopper

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I know it will be a finite amount of energy, but 2.5% is a sizeable amount when taken as a whole, one that includes industrial use (foundries/construction/completed building heating/manufacture/lighting), scientific needs (Hadron Collider), town and country infrastructure (farming, streetlighting, incubation, electric fencing, etc ), and the domestic stuff (household useage - heating/cooking /TV and audio. lighting and surfing the net).

Just how many data servers are there ?
 

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This is expected to grow to 5% by 2019.
That is a skewed figure. It's not necessarily that energy consumption of devices in data centres will increase, but that devices not in data centres will become more efficient.
 

2cvbloke

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Just how many data servers are there ?

"lots"... :-rofl2

You have to think of how many websites there are, be they basic home-made pages, right up to huge sites like youtube, facebook and ebay, then there's all the cloud server services, and gaming servers (such as Grand Theft Auto Online), and of course there's the governmental servers, so, there's lots of them out there spread throughout the world, too many to count (and some probably secret so cannot be counted), and they're increasing to compensate for the growing need for online storage, though in most cases the growth is more to do with replacing older servers with new hardware that can hold more data, but other cases it's adding onto existing networks, thus requiring more power to run... :)

But, it's one of them cases where if it's out of sight, it's out of mind, until the daily fail comes along and says something like google will cause the world to lose power or something...:-rofl2
 

Channel Hopper

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timo_w2s

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Doesn't a lot of the power go towards cooling the servers? Google have a few data centres in Finland where the climate is more suitable for running lots of hot computers...
 

Channel Hopper

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Doesn't a lot of the power go towards cooling the servers? Google have a few data centres in Finland where the climate is more suitable for running lots of hot computers...

That might explain why there are no longer any glaciers in Finland.
 

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2cvbloke

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Even so, a set of cabinets that power the internet (and not much else) cannot be using a fourtieth of the world's energy generation surely.

There's more to the internet than what we end-users get to see, as not just the main servers running the web, there'll be backups spread across the globe so if one site fails, there's another to take it's place, then you have all the equipment to channel the internet from server farms to home computers, thousands (if not millions) of miles of fibreoptic and copper wiring that connect to banks of networking racks that also need power, which heads for the telephone exchanges, and goes off to the green box on the street that seems to be whirring with fans or the mobile phone towers ontop of buildings and hills, all the way up to the modem and possibly wifi or wired router(s) you're connecting to the internet through... :)

So I'm sure they're taking into account all the associated electrical use of not just the servers, but also the delivery systems, but like I say, with more and more people getting into cloud storage use, there'll be an ever increasing need to store data somewhere, and that is on servers in server farms, which means they will get bigger and consume more energy, aswell as having to deal with the associated cooling systems as mentioned above... :)
 

dig deep

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Not all energy i lost, more than 50% i re-used, like the brain so it will be NP me think.
The coming computers will be better and faster - saves lots of power
 
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