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Report Finds U.S. Data Centers Are Riddled with Underused Machines

“Zombie” Servers and Inefficiency Drive Energy Waste at Data Centers

National Geographic, August 26, 2014

In nearly 3 million data centers across the United States, some 12 million machines serve up the emails, web pages, and files we access online every day. They’re the repositories of all our computerized information.

The high energy demand of those servers is well documented, but up to 30 percent of them are drawing power without actually doing anything.

These “zombie,” or comatose, servers are among the examples of energy waste documented in a report about U.S. data centers released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). If those facilities were to cut electricity consumption by 40 percent—half of what is possible using the tools now available to improve efficiency—the electricity savings would amount to $3.8 billion and 39 billion kilowatt-hours, according to the report.

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