‘Is your Netflix habit bad for the environment?’, asked BBC News last week in an article written on the back of concerns by climate change scientists about carbon emissions.
It suggested that video streaming at home used the same energy as two or three standard light bulbs and that perhaps we should think about watching less to help save the planet.
Maybe we should. But scroll down the story a bit and we get to the nub of the issue – that data centers need to be more energy efficient. These massive warehouse facilities already account for 1% of the world’s electricity consumption each year (and 0.3% of global CO2 emissions) and you can guess which way it’s trending.
But finding renewable energy sources for data centers or sinking servers into the sea to eliminate cooling costs will not solve the problem alone. We shouldn’t be relying on massive warehouses alone to distribute the data in the first place.
Why? Because these farms are dedicated facilities which have an environmental cost for every brick, cable and switch required to build them. Plus there is always a bigger distance between users and content, which means more energy is consumed sending it.
Instead, let’s place the data centers all around us. Let’s reuse hardware already available to us and devices that have already forced the environment to pay its price for manufacture. DADI represents a greener (and faster and more cost effective) solution to traditional server warehouses provided by Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others.
An inconvenient truth perhaps, but a truth nonetheless. :)