Energy Used in Data Centers

Upon reading The Environmental Toll of a Netflix Binge, I found it pretty jarring to think that data-center’s use so much energy. As consumers we tend not to think about things like the consumption of our consumption because we’re using it on the surface. This idea reminds me of the idea of how this class is meant to shape our understanding of what actually goes on inside the digital world we live in, not just the output of a cat video that we watch.

Going back to the reading, although it was initially surprising that data companies like Netflix and Facebook use a ton of energy, after logically thinking about it, it’s not surprising at all. Although I don’t know the exact process for how data companies use sources of energy, they have to keep their centers working and running so we can enjoy our streaming and Internet use. I guess it was just initially surprising because of the fact that we don’t think about these things. And I think finally thinking about these things is what can make a difference in shaping opinions to in the future make it so we have a future in which we still have data centers, but run on renewable sources of energy.

I think it’s great that Facebook and Google have switched to natural resources. However it’s nice to think that altruism made them switch when in reality it was just because it’s cheaper in the long term to do so. And it’s just a fact of business that things are done because it makes for good business, like how the bigger companies pressured the smaller companies to switch too. Looking to the future, I agree with Ingrid Burrington who says in her article that “recognizing that how we build the future frankly determines whether we have a future at all” (7). In the context of data-centers, that means switching to renewable sources of energy. But it also applies to the whole world, as we’ve known for an even longer time.

I attached a video that I think is worthwhile to watch.  It is part of a webseries called Sci-Show, and is with John Green’s brother.  The speaker talks about energy intake, including the need to cool the servers, keep them going, and ways in which data centers are trying to cut the costs, and the energy used.  It’s very interesting and educational.

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