Data centers set to pollute more than airlines by 2020

Old rackmount server unitSo, once we’ve managed to tighten up on inefficient technologies and business practices in the transport industries, we’ll be home free on this environmental stuff, right?

Well, no. The little metal box that Futurismic lives on – doubtless in some anonymous room full of similar boxes – is doing its little bit to consume energy and, in the process, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. So much so that projections suggest data centers will be bigger polluters than the air travel sector in little less than a decade. [image by Jemimus]

Hyperbole aside, this makes it clear how rapidly we’re expanding our use of server farms – and with the growth of cloud computing that trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon. But as is pointed out immediately on Slashdot, there’s a lot more scope for the data centres to cut down on their pollution levels than for the airlines.

At least, I hope so. The thought of bloggers becoming pariahs in the same way the SUV drivers have makes me a trifle uneasy … 😉

One thought on “Data centers set to pollute more than airlines by 2020”

  1. cloud computijng may actually *help* – people who run server farms are incented to make them as efficient as possible, but people who run single servers at a colo or who are self-hosting at home are incented to make their machines as *cheap* as possible, with no regard for efficiency. If the latter class of hosts goes away or gets reduced because cloud computing makes good on its promises, it could be a net gain for the environment.

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