Welcome!

Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, John Mertic, Janakiram MSV

Blog Feed Post

The Secret of the Cloud

The Cloud is Powering Data Center Energy Over Consumption

We need to get something off our chest, proverbially speaking. We are a Cloud hosting provider. We provide Windows Cloud, Linux Cloud and Cloud Apps on Demand to the market. This is not what we want to use this space for. It’s true, brand blog writing should cover and represent the brand in which the blog is being written however we are also people with real thoughts, needs, ideas. For the longest time we have watched as the Cloud market tumbled on through building greater and vaster solutions utilizing the ICT (Information Communications Technology) market. We have watched as the ICT Market (Mobile Device Market) has grown hand in hand with Cloud computing solutions. We have watched as application culture has taken over the mobile world. We have watched as Cloud based services have become more ubiquitous and cheaper to utilize for both consumers and businesses.

On the same accord, we have watched as the Cloud and ICT markets have built themselves upon a dark secret, one which no one cares to talk about. That secret is the impact of data centers on our global energy addiction.

Making Physical Connections to the Cloud

By its name, the Cloud misleads consumers as to what it actually is. We have heard the story before: the Cloud is phrase created by marketers to sell product. As with most things marketing, the name is misleading to those in the know and purposely misleading to those not in the know. A common issue with understanding how the Cloud actually works comes in the form of consumers understanding how the technology impacts them in their personal lives and not understanding how it impacts them outside of their personal lives. On the personal level, the Cloud has been marketed as a technology which eliminates the need for local storage devices. It has been marketed as the death of vast hard drives and 1TB external hard drives. The reason behind this marketing is simple: for a low monthly price, consumers can store their data in the Cloud without having to worry about backing it up locally. No more worrying about backing up files and no more need to purchase local storage devices. The marketing sells safe, simple and cheap. This said, the marketing behind the Cloud has caused a major disconnect as to how the technology actually works.

When it comes to understanding how the Cloud works outside of a consumers personal life, marketing has eliminated the need for critical thought and understanding. Due to marketing efforts, most consumers believe physical computing resources, space and hardware have been eliminated from the equation. As noted by Randall H. Victora, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota:

“When somebody says, ‘I’m going to store something in the cloud, we don’t need disk drives anymore’ — the cloud is disk drives. We get them one way or another. We just don’t know it.”

That quote, taken from an excellent article by James Glanz of The New York Times titled, “Power, Pollution and the Internet” (9.22.12), highlights the major disconnect between consumers and the infrastructure of the Cloud. Most people don’t realize that storing something in the Cloud means storing that data in a physical server located in a factory sized data center which maintains 99.9999% uptime – often to the detriment of the data center provider and the consumer.

Data Center Energy Consumption & Mobile Cloud Applications

Mobile Market and the Cloud

Before we can get into the physical requirements needed to run a data center, err, Cloud solutions, we need to first understand how we came to this place in time. The demand for Cloud based solutions has grown out of a global demand for around the clock applications and programs which, on an instant’s notice, can preform as you wish it to. A good example of this is a consumer accessing their Facebook profile at 3 AM. The demand for 24/7/365 solutions has lock step, hand in hand grown with our addiction to mobile products. With nearly 800 million Android devices and roughly 200 million iOS devices floating around the globe, our mobile addiction is based on constant connection and powerful applications. This combination: Constant around the clock connection and powerful applications (the ICT Market) has given rise to factory sized data centers hidden away from the world.

For those of who don’t know, a data center is a large room or few hundred thousand square foot facility which houses 24/7/365 in operation servers. Servers (i.e. computers without the keyboard or monitor) run around the clock because the market demands it. It has to be noted, Solar VPS supplies our consumers with 100% uptime data centers. We too, operate around the clock. Yet the truth is, when it comes to ’round the clock operation of business critical servers, those servers A) eat up a ton of energy and B) need a ton of industrial strength cooling (which also eats up a ton of electricity) to stay in operation. Moreover, to protect against natural disasters or normal power outages, both cooling and power within data centers operate on a redundant backup plan. This is to say, if the initial power or cooling system fails, an auxiliary system kicks in to maintain solution uptime. As you might imagine, this eats a ton of energy. Point in case, from the aforementioned New York Times article:

A yearlong examination by The New York Times has revealed that this foundation of the information industry is sharply at odds with its image of sleek efficiency and environmental friendliness.
Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found.
To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government’s Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area’s top stationary diesel polluters.
Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to estimates industry experts compiled for The Times. Data centers in the United States account for one-quarter to one-third of that load, the estimates show.
“It’s staggering for most people, even people in the industry, to understand the numbers, the sheer size of these systems,” said Peter Gross, who helped design hundreds of data centers. “A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.”
Energy efficiency varies widely from company to company. But at the request of The Times, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company analyzed energy use by data centers and found that, on average, they were using only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest was essentially used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity that could slow or crash their operations.

As noted, most data centers run around the clock so we can enjoy instant access to applications and data even when the need for round the clock instant access isn’t there. We are our own problem. We have created our own mess and we are only accelerating it.

The Fix

The fix to the solution is ourselves. While data center providers can install cleaner running power and cooling technologies (among other techs), the fix is with ourselves. Maybe we don’t need to save as many emails as we do. Maybe we don’t need to upload a million photos to Facebook or keep items in Google Drive which we have already forgotten about. The world will continue to rely on Cloud solutions and mobile devices/applications. It is up to us to figure out a way to balance our need with demand and electrical output. We need the Cloud. We also need the environment.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Solar VPS

Solar VPS lives the Parallels "Optimized Computing" vision. It has created a virtual infrastructure from client offerings, data facilities and management offices. Solar VPS works very closely with Parallels to provide the highest possible service and support to customers.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.