Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Green is Your Data?

That's the next question we'll be hearing, perhaps asked across a table by some enlightened but slightly annoying environmental type.  You've got the energy efficient house, you drive a hybrid, you bring re-usable bags to the grocery store, you support ocean issues, maybe you've even cleaned up a wetland and are a vegetarian.  The next thing: how green is your data?

Those photos you posted and that email there and even this blog has to live somewhere.  They exist as electrons on servers, servers which use utility scale electricity to run.  The electricity usually comes from dirty and dicey sources like coal, gas, and nuclear. 

In the near future, one good reason to choose or not choose a service from Google or Facebook or Bing will be based on how much of their electricity comes from renewables like solar, wind, and tidal.

The big guys own hundreds of thousands of electricity-sucking servers with our data on them.  Many of their server farms, as they call them, use enough juice to light up several towns.

They are already hearing it from Greenpeace.  Go Greenpeace. They keep it real when it comes to the environment.

Greenpeace praised Google for its clean energy efforts recently according to PC Mag while putting Microsoft and Amazon low on their clean energy list, according to the Seattle Times

Greenpeace called it their clean cloud list but it's all about data and how electricity is generated to store and access it.  For now, none of them are that green but they are trying in ways big and small, and that is good news.



Pelican said...

Mr. Misner,
Somehow I recently came accross your blog, and very much enjoy it and your writing style. Thanks for sharing, its on my daily must read list now.
Colin Fleming

Mike Misner said...

Thanks for the positive feedback Colin. Hope you continue to enjoy it.