Sunnyvale (CA) - A study commissioned by AMD suggests that energy demand for new servers will grow faster in Asia-Pacific and Western Europe than in the U.S. over the next three years.
Comparing the energy consumption of individual countries around the world usually does not reveal results the U.S. can be proud of, especially in times where a "going green" trend becomes increasingly popular. In that sense, results presented by a new study examining trends in server electricity are rather surprising: Jonathan Koomey, project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a consulting professor at Stanford University, found that the U.S. share of the global energy use to power servers may actually be declining over the next three years.
Koomey based his forecast on server installation data provided by IDC and estimates that the average annual world growth rate in server electricity use for 2005 to 2010 will be about 12%, down from about 16% per year growth observed between 2000 to 2005. The scientist assumed that, based on IDC's numbers, that the installed base for volume servers will grow by more than 50% from 2005 levels by 2010, while mid-range and high-end installed base will decline by 20-30%. If power-per-server remains constant, those trends would imply an increase in electricity used by servers worldwide of about 40% by
2010, according to Koomey. If the average power use per unit goes up at the same rate as it did from 2000 to 2005, total electricity used by servers by 2010 would be 76% higher than it was in 2005.
The scientist found that total world electricity used by servers and the associated cooling and infrastructure equipment roughly doubled from 2000 to 2005, to about 123 billion kWh and a cost of about $7.2 billion. Koomey estimates that the U.S. accounted for about 40% of that consumption. By 2010, however, the U.S share is expected to drop to about 34%, while strong growth in Asia-Pacific will increase that region's share from 10 to 16%, Koomey said. Other regions, including Western Europe and Japan are believed to maintain "roughly constant shares" over that period: Western Europe will continue to account for just under 29% of the world's electricity use for servers, while Japan will stay at about 11%.
The projected growth in the absolute electricity consumption for servers in the Asia Pacific Region translates in more than twice the electricity consumption in 2010 than in 2005 in Asia-Pacific, requiring the additional capacity of two 1000 MW power plants.
From the perspective of the U.S., at least the annual growth in additional required electricity has been below the world's average between 2000 and 2005 and Koomey believes this trend will continue. While the world's average was 16% between 2000 and 2005, the U.S. (and Japan) saw annual growth of only 14%. In comparison, Europe's growth is estimated to have been 17% and Asia-Pacific's at 23% during that time.
"With the findings released today we can begin to take next steps, including examining how we can power datacenters around the world while addressing impacts on global climate," said Larry Vertal, senior strategist for AMD Green. "For example, coal currently provides 25% of global primary energy needs and generates 40% of the world's electricity. Clearly, we must work harder than ever to not only deliver more efficient server and cooling technology, but also just as importantly, to work with our industry and government partners to develop environmentally sustainable solutions in areas where we see the most dramatic increases in energy use."