Monday, December 12, 2005

Google: Energy To Run Servers Could Outweigh Acquisition Costs

Well, duh, and hasn't anyone else been paying attention to this problem? Of course, it makes sense that Google, whose architecture is based on thousands of commodity computers, would run into this problem.
"If performance per watt is to remain constant over the next few years, power costs could easily overtake hardware costs, possibly by a large margin," Luiz Andre Barroso, who previously designed processors for Digital Equipment Corp., said in a September paper published in the Association for Computing Machinery's Queue. "The possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiraling out of control could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet."


If server power consumption grows 20 percent per year, the four-year cost of a server's electricity bill will be larger than the $3,000 initial price of a typical low-end server with x86 processors. Google's data center is populated chiefly with such machines. But if power consumption grows at 50 percent per year, "power costs by the end of the decade would dwarf server prices," even without power increasing beyond its current 9 cents per kilowatt-hour cost, Barroso said.