Cloud Begins With Coal.pdf


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The  Cloud  Begins  With  Coal  

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1.  PREFACE  –  WE’VE  ENTERED  A  NEW  ELECTRICITY-­‐CENTRIC  DIGITAL  ERA  
 
Shortly,  hourly  Internet  traffic  will  exceed  the  Internet’s  annual  traffic  of  the  year  2000.    And  data  
created,  used  and  transported  annually  –  the  “digital  universe”  –  is  now  growing  at  a  faster  pace  than  at  
any  time  in  history.    The  world  is  in  what  Cisco  has  coined,  the  zettabyte  era.2    (The  unit  zetta  is  a  tera  
times  one  billion;  a  zetta-­‐stack  of  dollar  bills  would  reach  the  sun  and  back  –-­‐  one  million  times.)  
 
 
Size of the Digital Universe – Annual Data Created & Consumed

 

Data Source: IDC Digital Universe 2013
 
“The digital universe is made up of images and videos on mobile phones uploaded to YouTube, digital movies populating the pixels of our
high-definition TVs, banking data swiped in an ATM, security footage at airports and major events such as the Olympic Games, subatomic
collisions recorded by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, transponders recording highway tolls…”

 
All  of  this  digital  traffic  requires  a  huge  distributed  physical  infrastructure  of  equipment  that  
specifically  and  almost  exclusively  consumes  electricity.    Since  coal  is  the  world’s  largest  and  fastest  
growing  source  of  electricity  –  68%  of  additional  supply  over  the  past  decade  and  forecast  to  supply  at  
least  50%  for  the  next  decade3  -­‐-­‐  the  reality  is  that  the  digital  universe  and  Cloud  begins  with  coal.  
 
Annual Global Electricity Generated

 

Data Source: IEA
Coal is 40% of global electricity and is forecast, by the IEA, to supply 50% of the growth in world demand over the next 20 years.

 

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