Worldwide electricity used in data centers

The direct electricity used by data centers has become an important issue in recent years as demands for new Internet services (such as search, music downloads, video-on-demand, social networking, and telephony) have become more widespread. This study estimates historical electricity used by data centers worldwide and regionally on the basis of more detailed data than were available for previous assessments, including electricity used by servers, data center communications, and storage equipment. Aggregate electricity use for data centers doubled worldwide from 2000 to 2005. Three quarters of this growth was the result of growth in the number of the least expensive (volume) servers. Data center communications and storage equipment each contributed about 10% of the growth. Total electricity use grew at an average annual rate of 16.7% per year, with the Asia Pacific region (without Japan) being the only major world region with growth significantly exceeding that average. Direct electricity used by information technology equipment in data centers represented about 0.5% of total world electricity consumption in 2005. When electricity for cooling and power distribution is included, that figure is about 1%. Worldwide data center power demand in 2005 was equivalent (in capacity terms) to about seventeen 1000 MW power plants.

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