Are you sitting comfortably? Good, because you're about to get a good old-fashioned dose of guilt. The folks at SciShow have put together a video examining how much energy we waste on running the internet, and the number is embarrassingly large.
Tagged With data centres
Apple has just announced that it is to invest €1.7 billion ($2.5 billion) in two new "state-of-the-art" data centres for Europe, located in Ireland and Denmark. The sites in County Galway and Denmark's central Jutland will use 100 per cent renewable energy and power Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage and Maps applications and Siri voice assistant.
The problem with data centres is excess heat. The problem with liquified natural gas terminals is excess cold. In a perfect world, one problem would neatly cancel out the other -- which is exactly the world imagined by Massachusetts-based TeraCool. Coupling data with liquified gas could make a lot of energy sense.
Ever since we humans gave up the nomadic life and started building homes, architecture had one goal: To make life better for humans. But now a new architecture is taking shape in remote, frozen corners of the world. And it's not designed for humans. It's for machines. In this case, for the remote machines that keep Facebook churning.
On Monday, we learnt that the NSA is recording every single phone call in the Bahamas and storing the data for a month. This news arrives just six weeks after we learned that the NSA was recording every single phone call, text and email in Iraq. In fact, the spy agency is engaged in similar efforts in five different countries around the world. So how many taxpayer dollars does that come out to?
This is embarrassingly funny. The WSJ reports that the NSA's new Utah data centre has suffered 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months because of electrical surges. The NSA is basically using so much power in its spying efforts that it is poetically killing its data centres. Seriously, the surges have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery.
This past week, major documents were leaked detailing PRISM, a top-secret government program that directed tech companies to spy on Americans by turning over their data to the National Security Agency, among other branches of the Department of Homeland Security. Despite obvious threats to the right to privacy, the Fourth Amendment (against illegal search and seizure), and the trust of the American people, the spy program has been going ahead with the full approval of two presidents as well as US Congress.
To ensure the cooling and ventilation systems in the company's data centres are running at peak efficiency, IBM now employs autonomous temperature-monitoring robots built on the iRobot Create platform to hunt down problematic areas. Fitted with a 2m tall pole laden with temperature and other sensors, the robots wander collect data on temperature and humidity that can later be mapped in 3D to determine cold spots where cooling is being wasted, or hot spots where ventilation needs to be improved.
Microsoft's Outlook.com email service suffered a massive 16-hour outage yesterday, which saw users unable to access parts of SkyDrive, Hotmail and Outlook. Microsoft has revealed that it was the result of a mischievous firmware upgrade, which caused "a rapid and substantial temperature spike" in the data centre.
There is a lot of data out there, and more is being created every day. It takes a lot of resources to make sure that we can access the data we want, when we want, with minimal downtime. Naturally, this takes a lot of energy, but the New York Times looked into exactly how much. It's a ridiculous amount.
One of the key features of Apple's upcoming North Carolina data centre is its mammoth field of solar panels, which aim to provide the data centre with the majority of its power. Although the solar farm in progress is a whopping 100 acres and aims to put out 20 megawatts, that's only 60 per cent of the data centre's expected draw.
It's not just the bullets that are getting smarter. As the US military pushes for deeper technological integration in its fighting forces, more and more bandwidth and computing power will be needed to keep everything connected. Dell's new self-contained server rooms will turn even the most remote Forward Operating Base into an impromptu data centre.
The Olympics is all about grand feats of athletic prowess and endurance demonstrated by its competitors. But for the folks behind the scenes, it's hardly a party -- and in fact, the team responsible for running the event's data centre will be sleeping in these tiny pods next to their computers the whole time.