Cloud computing and the wasteful excesses of data centres

data-center

Cloud computing and the wasteful excesses of data centres

 

With the rapid increase in the use of cloud services and the number of cloud service options available, more data centres have popped up all over the globe, bringing with them a higher demand for electricity. Recent reports by the Energy Conservation Bureau suggest that data centres now consume 3% of all electricity generated in the United States. A September New York Times article, “Power, Pollution and the Internet”, reports that data centres waste large amounts of energy, with only 6 – 12% of energy used by data centres going towards computing.

Data centres often consist of rows of servers, computers whose primary purposes are to process data. The heat generated by these servers can melt crucial computer components, risking data loss. As data centres have grown many now spread rows of servers over hundreds of thousands of square feet and utilize industrial cooling systems to combat overheating. Tens of thousands of data centres now exist to support the heavy demands of internet use, with many of the largest internet companies running servers at full capacity regardless of demand, resulting in the excessive wasting of energy.

There are ways to build more energy-efficient data centres. Providers can consider re-evaluating their redundancy, utilizing storage virtualization, consolidating their servers, and upgrading to energy efficient technology. Some data centres utilize their environment to cool their systems, such as a local waterfall or cold Arctic air. If clients outsource data centre management to high quality facilities that follow these practices, they can avoid forming their own poor management habits. Outsourcing can also save clients from having to upscale and downscale their own equipment to match the changing demands on their business.

Though outsourcing offers advantages, if large data centres are not optimally managed, these industry practices only contribute to more energy consumption. A large data centre is not inherently more energy efficient than a small one, and the spreading of load does not guarantee a reduced need for capacity. It stands to reason the cloud service providers need more spare capacity available to serve their clients than if clients operated their own facilities. Some argue that cloud services help to improve the situation, leading to a consolidation and centralization of computing among large, well-operated data centres. This is not necessarily the case.

Powering the internet is a very environmentally unfriendly prospect. Cloud computing presents a path towards improving the situation, but it is not a solution in and of itself.

 

Mac Connolly has worked in the technology industry for the past 25 years, working for various well-known brands. He is currently working with Melbourne Server Hosting as a freelance writer sharing his experience of technology and the advances within green hosting and data centres.

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Interesting Bio-fuel solutions

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Guest Post by Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

Search of new renewable energy solutions has embraced most of the countries recently. Indeed, growth of oil and gas prices and shortage of fuel deposits contributed a lot in referring to alternative power facilities, such as solar stations, wind farms and tidal power systems. However, these are the prerogative of those lands possessing suitable climate conditions and favoring national policy. On the contrary, the other states have many benefits for biofuels production, converting wastes and unnecessary materials into promising energy resources. Some examples testify on how creative and effective new technologies might be.

Germany is a vivid example of how biofuels might invest in national energy balance. For several decades German scientists have been working on biofuel technologies, and some of the concepts alerted governmental attention. To date, economic discussions are engaged in related issues, which are focused on how to make biofuels cheaper.  One of the received results is directed on car fuels production out of agricultural and wood wastes. The released technology features synthetic gasoline made of sawdust and straw, including two major stages: gathering basic material straightforward on farms and timber factories and gasoline production on the plant. Its price is expected to be 0,5 Euro per liter and the first supplies are scheduled on 2012.

Wageningen University and Research Centre in Ukraine is working on the concept of thermal and electrical energy from biomass gathered in Chernobyl restricted zone. It is appropriate to mention that this country still copes with consequences of tragic events of April 26th 1986, when there was a huge explosion on the local nuclear plant. However, biomass is offered to be cultivated on the lands cleared from radioactive effects.  All in all, the idea of any activity in Chernobyl zone is quite unpleasing and it might influence negatively on reputation of Ukrainian businessmen. Many scientists conclude that this area should be a testing ground for scientific experiments and investigations for many decades in future.

In contrast, Ukraine can boast of certain biomass advancement. It is the first country in Eastern Europe to establish a production of mobile industrial facilities that convert organic wastes into fuel pellets. These biofuel complexes, called “Forward”, are embedded on the truck platforms. Forward’s average capacity is about 2 tons per hour. The other advantage of these mobile platforms is their cost, which twice cheaper than foreign equipment – 300 thousand dollars.

During recent decades many countries in Europe opened huge biodiesel plants, using different primary materials. One of them is located in Spanish port Ferrol with a total capacity of 200 thousand tons of biodiesel fuels per year. It produces biodiesel from refined and unrefined vegetable oil, mainly soybean and canola oils. Giant biomass recycling plant was put in commission in Kalundborg city in Denmark. This facility performs several important tasks, which include recycling wheat straw, corn stalks and cobs, sugar bagasse and grass; usage of waste steam in biomass production and manufacturing lignin biofuel. Palm oil and rapeseed oil and animal fats are used in three biofuel plants in Rotterdam, which belong to Neste Oil Corp (Finland).  Their total capacity is 800 thousand tons of biodiesel annually.

biodiesel

Greenwashing

Everywhere we go recently it seems as though there is a brand new eco-friendly “green” versions of old products.  I have mentioned a few of these silly things like the 57 watt light bulb as a new energy efficient version of the 60 watt.

I have been coming across even more ludicrous examples, many of them outright lies.  Often you can see the absurdity just by looking at the contradictions in the advertising.  Phrases like “eco-friendly” and “contains mercury and lead” should not be on the same product.

I came across a good example the other day with a can of lithium grease.  The can is green of course and is pitched as a bio-based biodegradable lubricant.  If the warnings about calling poison control if ingested aren’t enough there is always the fact that Lithium is a metal and thus can not bio-degrade…ever.

This trend is a problem because in addition to claiming dangerous products are safe, overall the public believes things are changing for the better when in reality the packaging is just different. Consumers look around and things look like companies are being less wasteful but in the end it is just a marketing illusion.

Clean water is good for your health

As you may or may not know a contributing factor to the fall of the Roman Empire was the widespread use of lead water pipes and eating utensils…

Reverse osmosis Water Filter by Blue Gold for Life

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We sell a water filtration system that is amazing. It is a three stage reverse osmosis system that does a great job of taking out the poisons and minerals out of the water.  We actually tested the water against bottled water and found the filtered water to be cleaner in several cases.

This system is of great benefit particularly here in southern California because we live in a desert and have our water pumped in from far far away and it is infused with chemicals along the way to kill any serious bacteria.  The water is also very hard, causing mineral deposits to build up very quickly in water systems and also in our body’s own waste filtration systems.

Also bottled water is not a reliable or cost effective alternative.  According to the NRDC “An estimated 25% of bottled water is just tap water–sometimes further treated sometimes not”.  Plus think of the millions of tons of plastic used and discarded every year in bottling water.  We tend to also think that plastic bottles are inert and harmless when in fact water bottles release VOCs and other chemical as the soft plastic deteriorates.

How to install the system yoursel

Tech Companies Make Push For Home Energy Efficiency

Microsoft Hohm is an online service that makes it possible for consumers to see how much electrical power and gas they use in a given month along with suggestions on how to reduce their consumption.

This application was recently updated with some new features including two dozen behavior recommendations for those who take the time to create a Hohm energy profile and information pages covering every zip code in the United States. Additionally, Hohm now features an energy breakdown dashboard that gives more thorough information about where your household is using the most energy.

Microsoft is not alone in their home energy efficiency efforts. A group of appliance and energy companies that includes Best Buy, Direct Energy, Lennox International, OpenPeak and Whirlpool are working on what they call the Home Energy Management Center. What makes this effort distinctive is that it focuses on homes of all income levels rather than the middle or upper class approach that most other companies are taking.

The Home Energy Management Center is being described as a “command center” for the smart home. It will allow them to manage their energy consumption according to certain predetermined budget levels or operating limits as well as provide access to news, weather, social networking, music and movie applications. It is projected that consumers will be able to save up to 25% on their energy bill every month.

Another company taking a very unique approach to home energy efficiency is EcoFactor. Their system will merge your home energy consumption with information about environmental conditions. The thought behind this system is that the consumer does not necessarily want the temperature of their house set to the same level everyday. The temperature outside may not change very much day to day, but the same temperature can feel different depending on how much moisture is in the air.

These are just a few of the companies that are working hard to cut down home energy consumption. The hope is that in the coming years a wide variety of systems will make it possible for everyone to watch their energy usage regardless of whether or not they can meet the expense of home automation.

This was a guest post from Richard Moyle

For more about monitoring home energy usage visit www.measurementsystems.co.uk

The Benefit of ceiling fans

Hugger style ceiling fans can save you a lot of money normally spent on air conditioning.

It is not just about have air blowing on you to keep cool, it is also very helpful when used in conjunction with an air conditioner to quickly and efficiently cool your house.

Keep cool and save money this summer with great deals!

click here to find fans in Hollywood, CA

General Electric doesn’t have a very high opinion of the consumer

GE,

I’m disappointed.

I work in a hardware store and we have three basic types of lightbulbs for general use,

Incandescent:  The original Thomas Edison invention, they use 3% of the electricity to produce light and the rest of the electricity produces heat.  Essentially it is a very small fire.

Compact Flourescent (the spiral bulbs) :   A smaller version of the long straight flourescent lights most frequently used in supermarkets, they use about half the electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent. Unfortunately they contain mercury and in a perfect world would be thrown out at a hazardous waste dump.

L.E.D (Light emitting Diode):  An old technology redone is our modern age, they can use 4 watts of electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent 60 watt.  They also last five times as long as anything else.  They cost way too much right now.

So to come up with an “energy efficient” bulb, GE reduced Edison’s 60 watt bulbs to 57  to respond to California’s demand that they waste less electricity.

light-bulb ge 75 watt

bravo

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