Welcome!

Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, 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
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 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 software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.