Study predicts data center energy spike
An AMD study has revealed fascinating changes to global data center energy
use, suggesting that even small shifts in operational procedures could cut new
The study, conducted by Dr. Jonathan Koomey and using data from industry analyst
firm IDC, documents energy use across five regions: the United States, Western
Europe, Japan, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and the rest of the world.
It forecasts data center energy consumption, estimating that by 2010 US consumption
will decline relative to consumption worldwide from 40 percent in 2000 to about
one-third by 2010. The Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) will increase its
share from 10 percent to about 16 percent over that period.
AMD estimated that the absolute electricity consumption for servers in the
Asia/Pacific region under this scenario will more than double from 2005 to 2010,
requiring electricity capacity equal to output from two new 1,000MW power plants
- which is unsurprising given the rate at which those economies are growing.
For the entire world, server consumption from 2005 to 2010 would require additional
capacity equal to more than 10 additional 1,000MW power plants.
Koomey's report shows that electricity used by servers in the United States
and Europe currently comprise about two-thirds of the world's total, with Japan,
Asia/Pacific and the rest of the world each falling at between 10 and 15 percent
of the total.
Examining electricity use by region from 2000 to 2005, the study found that
server electricity use in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) grew at
a 23 percent annual rate, compared to a world average of 16 percent a year,
making this region the only one with server electricity use growing at a rate
significantly greater than the world average.
The Western European growth rate of 17 percent was slightly above the world
average, while growth rates in the other regions were lower than the world average.
Data centers throughout the world are designed and operated in similar ways
to those in the United States, AMD said. The chip company reckoned that, if
the 20 percent savings estimated in the EPA report are applied to Dr. Koomey's
projections for global data center electricity use in 2010, total savings would
equal approximately five 1,000MW power plants. In other words, relatively modest
changes in the way data centers are designed and operated could offset approximately
half the expected growth in global data center electricity use in 2010.
Koomey said in the study: "I converted total direct electricity use to
total electricity consumption (including cooling and auxiliary equipment) by
multiplying by a factor of 2.0. This factor is the ratio of typical total data
center load to the information technology equipment plug load, and it includes
both cooling electricity use and losses in the power delivery infrastructure.
Future work should investigate how this multiplier might vary across data center
types and geographic/climatic regions."
This new research adds detail to an AMD-sponsored study published in February
that identified the worldwide costs associated with data center energy use,
finding that in 2005 total data center electricity consumption in the United
States (including servers, cooling and auxiliary equipment) was approximately
45 billion kWh, resulting in total utility bills amounting to US$2.7 billion.
That study estimated total data center power and electricity consumption for
the world to cost $7.2 billion annually.
According to AMD, both of Koomey's studies were subject to peer review by IT
industry, government and energy efficiency policy professionals.
"According to a recent U.S. EPA Report, data center energy consumption
in the United States five years from now could be cut by as much as 20 percent
with relatively minor efforts by data center managers, including turning on
available power management features, enabling higher rates of resource consolidation,
shutting off unused servers and improving infrastructure operations," said
AMD marketing man Bruce Shaw.
"With the findings released today we can begin to take next steps, including
examining how we can power data centers around the world while addressing impacts
on global climate," said Larry Vertal, senior strategist for AMD Green.