AMD calculated, for the first time, the energy consumed by the U.S. and global data centers annually.
The study builds on data from analyst firm IDC on the stocks and shipments of servers, as well as measured data and published estimates of the power per unit used by various server models.
Total direct power consumption for all servers in the U.S. in 2005 is about 2.6 million kW. Including cooling and auxiliary equipment increases that total to about five million kW, which is equivalent (in capacity terms) to five 1000 MW power plants. Total server electricity consumption in the U.S. is 23 billion kWh in 2005. When electricity use for cooling and auxiliary equipment is included, that total rises to 45 billion kWh, or about 1.2% of retail electricity sales in that year , resulting in a total utility bill of $2.7 billion (2006 dollars) when valued at U.S. industrial electricity prices. Total server power and electricity consumption for the world as a whole is about two and a half times bigger than for the U.S.
Total power used by servers represented about 0.6% of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2005. When cooling and auxiliary infrastructure are included, that number grows to 1.2%, an amount comparable to that for color televisions. Electricity use associated with servers doubled from 2000 to 2005, representing an aggregate annual growth rate of 14% per year for the U.S. and 16% per year for the world.
“Though we have long known that data centers worldwide consume a significant amount of energy, AMD believes Dr. Koomey’s findings are a wake-up call not just for the IT industry, but also for global business, government and policy leaders,” explained AMD’s Allen. “This study demonstrates that unchecked demand for data center energy use can constrain growth and present real business challenges. New generations of energy-efficient servers are now able to help provide IT departments with a path to reduce their energy consumption while still achieving the performance they require.”
Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, acknowledged that ongoing work between industry leaders and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is helping to identify meaningful steps to reduce IT industry energy consumption. Citing the study’s findings, Allen challenged these groups to accelerate their efforts and suggested several next steps to help bring accountability and measurement into tracking the industry’s efforts, including: an annual report on energy efficiency in U.S. data centers, to measure progress and determine new opportunities and challenges; a mechanism to enable businesses, large and small, to measure their own data center efficiency; and an alignment between government and vendor-neutral industry groups to foster the development of energy-efficient data centers for the future.
“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) applauds AMD and this latest benchmarking effort to better understand the global impact data centers have on energy consumption,” said Andrew Fanara, team leader, U.S. ENERGY STAR Product Specifications, EPA. “We are looking forward to continuing our work with the IT industry to forge new, energy-efficient solutions that benefit both consumers and our global environment.”