Cloud Begins With Coal.pdf


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The  Cloud  Begins  With  Coal  

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Global  investment  in  the  infrastructure  of  the  digital  economy  is  already  over  $5  trillion,  and  will  grow  
another  $3  trillion  within  a  decade.    Global  Big  Data  capital  spending  is  now  in  the  same  league  as  Big  
Oil.4    But  while  Big  Oil  produces  energy,  Big  Data  consumes  energy,  specifically  electricity.  

 
 

Infrastructure Investment in the Digital Universe

Data Source: IDC Digital Universe 2013

 

Even as the cost (measured in $ per gigabyte) of IT equipment keeps falling, annual IT enterprise investment keeps climbing.
 

 
Information-­‐Communications-­‐Technologies  (ICT)  -­‐-­‐  the  Internet,  Big  Data  and  the  Cloud  -­‐-­‐  use  
electricity  across  every  niche  of  the  digital  ecosystem,  from  handheld  devices  and  IT  embedded  in  
machines,  to  data  centers,  networks  and  factories.      Since  all  digital  bits  are  electrons  -­‐-­‐  or  optical  and  
RF  photons  which  are  quantum  cousins  to  electrons  -­‐-­‐  astronomical  quantities  of  data  eventually  add  
up  to  real  power  in  the  real  world.    This  reality  has  been  noted  by  Greenpeace,  for  example,  which  has  
ranked  the  coal  dependence  of  major  cloud  data  center  companies.  
 

 
Dependence on Coal for Data Centers

 
Source: Greenpeace International, How Clean is Your Cloud, April 2012

 
 

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