Jonathan Koomey, project scientist and professor with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University called for data center operators to focus on the overall costs of their computing in terms of finances and energy today at the Green:Net conference in San Francisco. He offers cloud computing as a way to cut those costs and realign incentives around reducing the total cost of ownership of a data center. He said the cloud is responsible for 1-2 percent of today’s global electricity use, but it’s also driving productivity higher while being more energy efficient.
Koomey’s big story isn’t about electricity use in the data center but how IT affects efficiency in the broader society. One effect is that we’re becoming smarter about how we use resources; the other is dematerialization. “Moving electrons is less environmentally damaging than moving atoms,” Koomey says. Essentially the idea is that it is more efficient to send a PDF rather than a piece of paper. As part of getting smarter, he calls for the electric grid to be modeled on the dynamic data center management software that can track and monitor electricity delivery in real time.