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Data Centers: Making Them More Power Efficient

By Dick Weisinger

Data centers are notorious users of energy. US data centers use about 90 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, the equivalent of 34 coal-powered generators. The amount of energy consumed by data centers is expected to grow dramatically over the coming decade.

Despite the huge amount of energy being consumed by data centers, only 3 percent of the power supplied to data centers is actually used by computer processors to perform computing. That compared to one-third of the power being used for cooling, another third for idle processing, and the remainder of the power used by other infrastructure components.

Rado Danilak, co-founder of Tachyum, wrote for Forbes that “I am optimistic about is the opportunity for major compute efficiency improvements. Disruptive innovation on the compute side will inevitably come to market soon, giving us faster compute engines and architectures that deliver more computational density per watt. We are currently stuck with architectures developed some 40 years ago that are not going to satisfy humanity‚Äôs insatiable thirst for a lot more processing, much faster processing and much more energy-efficient processing.”

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