September 25, 2012 | There's been much discussion this week of data centers and the virtual cloud's actual impact on the environment. On Saturday the New York Times published a story claiming that only 6-12% of electricity powering data centers actually used for computations. On Sunday, the paper published part two of its 'The Cloud Factory' series: a profile of Microsoft's big "data barn" in rural Washington that carried the tagline, "Gobbling Power and Flexing Muscle."
By Sunday, the rebuttals started rolling in.
A Forbes commentary called the New York Times' story "a sloppy failure." It confused the "Internet Industry" with actual IT. Wired highlighted what the New York Times missed: that data centers are evolving and the industry giants--like Facebook--are introducing the technologies that will trickle down to the rest of the industry. Today, InformationWeek points out that yes, computing is increasing, but the amount of electricity consumed per unit of computing is going down.
We are a data-driven society, no one can argue with that. But now we have to support those requirements.