February 14, 2007 9:00 PM PST

U.S. servers slurp more power than Mississippi

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

It's no secret that the servers behind every Web 2.0 company, bank Internet site and corporate e-mail system are consuming ever larger amounts of power. But now a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study to be released Thursday has quantified exactly how much.

Servers in the United States and their attendant cooling systems consumed 45 billion kilowatt-hours of energy in 2005. That's more than Mississippi and 19 other states, according to study author Jonathan Koomey, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and consulting professor at Stanford University.

And the computers' electricity appetite is still growing fast.

"Over a five-year period from 2000 to 2005, there has been about a doubling," Koomey said. Most of the growth is from the widespread adoption of lower-end servers costing less than $25,000, he said.

Server power demand has moved high up customer priority lists--especially with rising power costs and overstuffed data centers--and hardware makers are responding. Among the touted fixes are energy-efficient processors, power consumption caps, water cooling and consolidation of work from numerous inefficient low-end servers to fewer, more-powerful machines.

The study also estimated the world's server power consumption in 2005 at 123 billion kilowatt-hours. The server power consumption accounted for 1.2 percent of total U.S. power consumption and 0.8 percent of worldwide power consumption, Koomey said.

Based on the number of servers IDC forecasts to ship, the world's server power consumption will increase another 40 percent over 2005 levels by 2010, according to Koomey, assuming per-server power consumption stays at 2005 levels. But if server power consumption grows at past rates, 2010 power consumption will be about 75 percent greater than 2005 levels, he said.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices--one of several hardware companies that have embraced energy efficiency as part of their sales pitch--funded the study. The study included supporting infrastructure such as data center air-conditioning and lighting, but not other computing equipment such as storage arrays or network switches, Koomey said. That other equipment in total consumes about a third that of servers, he said.

 

Correction: This story misstated the U.S. and global server power consumption for 2005. The correct figures are 45 billion kilowatt-hours and 123 billion kilowatt-hours, respectively.

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18 comments

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Uh...a link to the report?
It'd be nice to see what statistical trickery they use to come up with
theese figures. Mississippi uses a lot more power in the summer
than the winter - does the study take an entire year into account?

We don't know, because News.com leaves the most important
information out of the story - as usual.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the article, Hep Cat
Article says the report doesn't come out for another day.
Posted by therealbean (64 comments )
Link Flag
Uh...a link to the report?
It'd be nice to see what statistical trickery they use to come up with
theese figures. Mississippi uses a lot more power in the summer
than the winter - does the study take an entire year into account?

We don't know, because News.com leaves the most important
information out of the story - as usual.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the article, Hep Cat
Article says the report doesn't come out for another day.
Posted by therealbean (64 comments )
Link Flag
How much power is really used?
I saw the "deal of the day" here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2061-11728_3-6159422.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2061-11728_3-6159422.html</a>

It is an electricity load meter.

I would be curious to see someone chart exactly what the load is for some things like:

CRT TV
LCD TV
High end PC
large server
Dish Washer
Electric baseboard heating
Washer
Dryer
Air conditioner
Light bulb


From what I have heard, servers/PC's actually draw less power than most would expect when compated to utilities like a dryer or dish washer.

I would be curious to find an answer to this, but I am too lazy to search around for it right now and it isn't worth $23 to me.

(PS, yes I know data centers have more than one server)
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Continuous Use
We don't use servers until our hair is dry or our dishes are clean and then shut it down...
Posted by soup_ignorant (17 comments )
Link Flag
How much power is really used?
I saw the "deal of the day" here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/2061-11728_3-6159422.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/2061-11728_3-6159422.html</a>

It is an electricity load meter.

I would be curious to see someone chart exactly what the load is for some things like:

CRT TV
LCD TV
High end PC
large server
Dish Washer
Electric baseboard heating
Washer
Dryer
Air conditioner
Light bulb


From what I have heard, servers/PC's actually draw less power than most would expect when compated to utilities like a dryer or dish washer.

I would be curious to find an answer to this, but I am too lazy to search around for it right now and it isn't worth $23 to me.

(PS, yes I know data centers have more than one server)
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Continuous Use
We don't use servers until our hair is dry or our dishes are clean and then shut it down...
Posted by soup_ignorant (17 comments )
Link Flag
I bought one of those
I got one of the KILL-A-WATT meters. Very cool and it is useful.
I put it on my HTPC, 1 hd, Geforce 6600 video card, Hauppauge tuner card, and 2 DVD drives. Total wattage ranged from 170 to 220.

Then I put it on my new Sony Bravia 26" flat panel LCD. The manual says 130watts when turned on. This meter reported only 72 watts.

I haven't done it on a dryer before, because a non-gas dryer is 220 volts and a different plug. But watch your electric meter on the house when that baby is running. Spins like a top.

I only think this number will stay the same or possibly decrease. Although more servers are coming online from more businesses, much more servers are going to consolidation. I've got a small MS Virtual Server running 3 OS's, all running on a 2.5ghz Gateway. Very solid too.
In addition, new CPU's use much less wattage than the old ones. My HTPC is specked out from Intel at 130watts, the Core 2 Duo, are 65 and are much faster.
Jake
Posted by Jakesty (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I bought one of those
I got one of the KILL-A-WATT meters. Very cool and it is useful.
I put it on my HTPC, 1 hd, Geforce 6600 video card, Hauppauge tuner card, and 2 DVD drives. Total wattage ranged from 170 to 220.

Then I put it on my new Sony Bravia 26" flat panel LCD. The manual says 130watts when turned on. This meter reported only 72 watts.

I haven't done it on a dryer before, because a non-gas dryer is 220 volts and a different plug. But watch your electric meter on the house when that baby is running. Spins like a top.

I only think this number will stay the same or possibly decrease. Although more servers are coming online from more businesses, much more servers are going to consolidation. I've got a small MS Virtual Server running 3 OS's, all running on a 2.5ghz Gateway. Very solid too.
In addition, new CPU's use much less wattage than the old ones. My HTPC is specked out from Intel at 130watts, the Core 2 Duo, are 65 and are much faster.
Jake
Posted by Jakesty (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, you really have to ask yourself...
as energy costs increase, will advertising really pay for all of this 'free' content, storage and network bandwidth?
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, you really have to ask yourself...
as energy costs increase, will advertising really pay for all of this 'free' content, storage and network bandwidth?
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where did the money for this study come from?
Do we have so money in our government that we care how much power servers are consuming??

Another group of people in a college needing something to do.

They need to get a job working on some of these servers!!
Posted by mchastain (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where did the money for this study come from?
Do we have so money in our government that we care how much power servers are consuming??

Another group of people in a college needing something to do.

They need to get a job working on some of these servers!!
Posted by mchastain (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the damn article - AMD funded the study
Wired did an article a few months back about the massive data centers Google is building. They are putting these things very close to hydroelectric dams in the Pacific NW - specifically because of the easy access to power. That should tell you something about where the industry is going. Also, efficiency is targeted as one of the primary obstacles in the predicted future power needs - hence companies like Sun have been billboarding the hell out of the Bay Area about their energy-sipping servers, comparing them to hybrid cars. This issue will be a big one in the decades ahead. Bank on it.
Posted by mixilplik (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the damn article - AMD funded the study
Wired did an article a few months back about the massive data centers Google is building. They are putting these things very close to hydroelectric dams in the Pacific NW - specifically because of the easy access to power. That should tell you something about where the industry is going. Also, efficiency is targeted as one of the primary obstacles in the predicted future power needs - hence companies like Sun have been billboarding the hell out of the Bay Area about their energy-sipping servers, comparing them to hybrid cars. This issue will be a big one in the decades ahead. Bank on it.
Posted by mixilplik (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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