Energy consumption of data centres is improving

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A new report has revealed that data centres are no longer the energy vacuums they once were, with energy use at these facilities being brought under greater control, according to the Fortune website.
 
A report conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled the 'United States Data Center Energy Usage Report' claims that although the number of data centres has surged rapidly over the past few years, the energy required to support this increase has remained fairly stagnant.
 
The study was the first comprehensive analysis of energy in data centres for almost a decade. A smaller study by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, in 2008, found that in the US alone the amount of energy consumed by data centres was doubling every five years.
 
As our always-on lifestyles and reliance on connected devices continues to take hold, if we were to continue on that energy-intensive trajectory then data centres would consume a lot more than their current rate of 2% of total US electricity. This obviously rang alarm bells with internet companies, who would foot the bill for the costs of additional power, as well as environmentalists and those who shape environmental policies.
 
But more recently, it seems that efforts made by the world's leading tech companies - including Amazon, Facebook and Google - to lower the energy consumption of their data centres is starting to see results.
 
Over the past few years, these giants have made a dedicated effort to make their data centres more energy efficient, from investing in energy efficiency software to building servers that automatically switch to a reduced-power state when not in use. They also found a way to run each server more aggressively, reducing the number of servers required.
 
Thanks to these measures, US data centres consumed 70 billion kilowatt hours in 2014, equivalent to 1.8% of total U.S. electricity consumption for that year - the same consumption figure as in 2010.
 
In fact, the energy use in US data centres increased by just 4% between 2010 and 2014. According to the report's predictions, this is only likely to grow by another 4% between 2014 and 2020.
 
Of course, these companies aren't just making these efforts to help the environment; there are also significant cost savings to be made. The report states that the over the past decade, the combined energy savings from US data centres could be around $60 billion.
 
The challenge now will be trying to emulate this success in smaller data centres run by companies that don't have the resources of Google et al. These facilities will account for 60% of US data centre energy usage by 2020, the report predicts, so there is still a lot of room for improvement if they look to the practices of larger corporations.
 
To read how AVReporter Energy Management Software can contribute towards data centers' energy efficiency goals, CLICK HERE.
 
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