Monday, December 19, 2005

Google's Future Electric Bill

Via Peak Oil Optimist, we discover that Google has been doing some projections about its future electric bills:

"If performance per watt is to remain constant over the next few years, power costs could easily overtake hardware costs, possibly by a large margin," Luiz Andre Barroso, who previously designed processors for Digital Equipment Corp., said in a September paper published in the Association for Computing Machinery's Queue. "The possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiraling out of control could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet."


If server power consumption grows 20 percent per year, the four-year cost of a server's electricity bill will be larger than the $3,000 initial price of a typical low-end server with x86 processors. Google's data center is populated chiefly with such machines. But if power consumption grows at 50 percent per year, "power costs by the end of the decade would dwarf server prices," even without power increasing beyond its current 9 cents per kilowatt-hour cost, Barroso said.
For more, read the complete article from ACM Queue.

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1 comment:

Starvid from Sweden said...

I think it is a good thing NEI, quite an authorative organization, doesn't recoil from linking to webpages discussing the woefully underreported peak oil issue.

While nuclear power can't do much directly to mitigate peak oil (since oil isn't used much to make electricity, except on islands and in Italy), nuclear power could help indirectly.

Examples of this indirect mitigation is reducing the need for oil heat (either through heat pumps, direct electrical heating, or coolest of all, nuclear co-generation for district heating), by replacing oil for industrial heat, to reduce oil use by tranportation through electric mass transit (subways, trams, trains à la TGV) or even electrical or (the unlikely) hydrogen cars.