There’s been lots of chat around the office and online about the New York Times big Sunday article on data center energy usage. It’s stirred quite the controversy, with fingers pointing and people drawing lines in the sand between IT companies and internet companies (which they claim are more efficient). I see the whole sector as a big energy efficiency opportunity. Here’s a good recap from GigaOm:
Originally posted on Gigaom:
The data center industry is seemingly in a frenzy over the negative tone and information left out of the New York Times’ series on data centers and power consumption, which debuted this weekend (part 1 and part 2). There are clearly some important issues left out of the articles so far — namely all of the data center energy efficiency work that the webscale Internet giants like Google (s GOOG) and Facebook (s FB) have done over the past two years — but I still think the series is valuable and can play an important role in shining a spotlight on the large amount of resources that are sometimes quietly consumed by data centers.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these issues, for my own series on data centers and power a couple months ago, and have contemplated many of the things that the New York Times’ reporter must have spent time thinking about (my series from July is here, part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4). The difficulty of tackling this topic is that regular readers have little understanding of how data centers, the electric grid, and power generation works (a point that Michael Manos who was interview for the story also makes here). The NYT’s first piece spends several sentences explaining just what a data center is to the average reader (though, not everyone even likes the article’s basic descriptions).