Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Links

  • Interesting paper on how oil is actually priced.
  • NYT on energy use in Internet server farms.  Once they got to the part about how data centers only use 2% of electricity, the piece started to seem overblown to me.
  • Some people want Greenland to melt.

3 comments:

Alexander Ac said...

regarding Greenland, here is the update of glacial quakes -

2012 to set record?

Alex

galacticsurfer said...

I read the internet article too and found another one from 2009 stating about 2% and growing at 12% per year but I think 7-12% efficiency with a lot of dead servers and data stored on them "forever" ias outrageous. Think of all your old files and maybvbe hard drives with muisic lying around but keeping the energy on with a computer on your hard drive forever in case you maybe wanted to hear a soneg or something. Pretty stupid. The internet with video files , etc. sharing is grwoing fast globally and li8ke other dreams of unlimited freedom on the highway or in the air it cannot last long.

Aaron said...

It's not clear (at least to me) if the 2% nationwide energy usage of data centers includes air-conditioning or is merely what the servers themselves are consuming. Dissipating the heat generated by servers is fairly energy-intensive as HVAC systems need a lot of power to alter humidity and temperature.

In general this is a problem of determining and altering carbon and energy budgets - where to bound the system's consumption and emission. Do we include the worker who shows up to administer the data center in the overall footprint? Is the worker driving a Prius or is he/she a vegetarian? Should we include the CEO's frequent helicopter transport (instead of a taxi) to the airport in the overall footprint? I'm not suggesting the boundaries of a carbon/energy system should be drawn so widely - but it's a problem as to where to properly draw the boundaries of such complex systems.