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When I Think of Data, I Think of Energy

By: Heidi Lim
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One of my not-so-secret goals at Delphix is to get people thinking about us as a green tech company. As enterprises worldwide accelerate application projects with Delphix, they'll realize we're masters of all kinds of efficiency. Provisioning virtual databases (VDBs) instead of physical data copies creates minimal physical storage overhead with each incremental VDB, dramatically reducing infrastructure needs. That doesn't just mean space and cost savings that also means energy and water savings!

One of my not-so-secret goals at Delphix is to get people thinking about us as a green tech company. As enterprises worldwide accelerate application projects with Delphix, they'll realize we're masters of all kinds of efficiency. Provisioning virtual databases (VDBs) instead of physical data copies creates minimal physical storage overhead with each incremental VDB, dramatically reducing infrastructure needs. That doesn't just mean space and cost savings - that also means energy and water savings!

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

One of my not-so-secret goals at Delphix is to get people thinking about us as a green tech company. As enterprises worldwide accelerate application projects with Delphix, they'll realize we're masters of all kinds of efficiency. Provisioning virtual databases (VDBs) instead of physical data copies creates minimal physical storage overhead with each incremental VDB, dramatically reducing infrastructure needs. That doesn't just mean space and cost savings - that also means energy and water savings! A few years ago, I read Power, Pollution, and the InternetNew York Times article that changed my perspective on the data centers that make our digital world go round. At Delphix, I often think about how we're "greening" the modern data center. In sustainability circles, I tell people I work in data center efficiency, because in a lot of ways, that's what we do. Here's some food for thought on data's environmental impact:

 

  • In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over, an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, the equivalent annual output of 34 large (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants. This number is projected to increase to roughly 140 billion kWh annually by 2020, the equivalent annual output of 50 power plants, causing the emission of nearly 150 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually.
  • As of 2012, worldwide data centers used about 30 gigawatts, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants.
  • Cooling infrastructure of data center facilities can require 1-2x the energy used to power the IT equipment itself. A 15-megawatt data center can also use up to 360,000 gallons of water a day for cooling, much of which can be reused.
  • An estimated 30% of servers in enterprise data centers today are comatose, using electricity but delivering no useful information services. IT managers often cannot identify owners for 15-30%of the installed server base but are reluctant to decommission equipment, fearing potential impacts on business or applications.

 

Modern enterprises are starting to make the connection between data centers and energy efficiency. There's even a coalition of big names in the tech world, The Green Grid, collaborating to improve data center efficiency. That group has standardized what have become widely used standards for efficiency, the Power Usage Effectiveness and Water Usage Effectiveness metrics. The tech industry has a major role to play in sustainability, and it's great to see enterprises lead the charge. Imagine replacing hundreds of thousands of TB-size databases with virtual databases. The efficiency gains in IT infrastructure, water, and energy are huge, and I'm excited to see how Delphix continues to change the game in not just data delivery, but also data center efficiency.

-Heidi Lim is an Associate Product Manager at Delphix. She writes a little, listens to music a lot, and is a big believer that enterprises can lead the way to sustainability.