Increased Data Crunching Drives More Energy Use

Big data’s dirty little secret: a burning need for data center efficiency

Greentech Lead, February 11, 2015

The recent technology trends shows that big data and the Internet Of Things (IoT) promises to improve the level of information but they have an under-appreciated downside to them as it adds energy consumption in data centers.

For the big data to be of use effectively, it needs to be processed and analysed, and all that “crunching” of data is going to take place in data centers. The resulting challenge is that unless data centers become more energy efficient and flexible, the big data trend is going to carry with it unnecessary energy burn, some of it from electricity generated from fossil fuels. Big data has great potential, but we need to avoid any corresponding increase in energy waste.

According to the recent estimates from Gartner, the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry already accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Looking just at data centers, Gartner estimates that energy accounts for 12 percent of all data center costs, and is the fastest rising cost.

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