AMD: Data Center Power Usage Soaring

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Power usage by data centers will continue to increase through 2010, with particularly strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new analysis released by AMD. The study predicted that global server power consumption will increase by 10,000 megawatts between 2005 and 2010. The analysis was prepared by Jonathan Koomey, PhD. a project scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, using server data compiled by the analyst firm IDC.

The fastest growth will be seen in the Asia-Pacific market (not including Japan), where data center energy use is expected to double between 2005 and 2010. Server electricity use in APAC grew at a 23 percent annual rate between 2000 and 2005, compared to a world average of 16 percent a year, making it the only one region with server electricity use growing at a rate significantly greater than the world average. The Western European growth rate of 17 percent was slightly above the world average, while growth rates in the other regions were lower.

The United States currently accounts for 40 percent of the world’s server power usage, but is expected to slip to 33 percent by 2010 as the Asia Pacific region’s share of global use grows from 10 to 16 percent. In 2005, servers accounted for 0.8 percent of the world’s electricity sales, and 1.2 percent of electricity usage in the U.S.


Koomey’s previous study on server power usage, released in February 2007 and also backed by AMD, has been widely cited in media coverage of the industry’s power challenges, as well as an EPA report to Congress on data centers. Koomey helped moderate the Uptime Institute’s recent charrette on data center engineering.

“With the findings released today we can begin to take next steps, including examining how we can power datacenters around the world while addressing impacts on global climate,” said Larry Vertal, senior strategist for AMD Green. “For example, coal currently provides 25 percent of global primary energy needs and generates 40 percent of the world’s electricity.

“Clearly, we must work harder than ever to not only deliver more efficient server and cooling technology, but also just as importantly, to work with our industry and government partners to develop environmentally sustainable solutions in areas where we see the most dramatic increases in energy use,” Vertal added.

The February study found that total data center electricity consumption in the United States (including servers, cooling and auxiliary equipment) was approximately 45 billion kWh in 2005, resulting in total utility bills amounting to $2.7 billion.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.