Image via UCSD
The latest report to come out about our use of the internet and digital media to consume information is mind-blowing. University of California, San Diego reports that each day, Americans consume 34 gigabytes of information. That adds up to about 3.6 zettabytes. That's about equal to the capacity of 5.1 million computer hard drives. And the study doesn't include information consumed at work. Yeesh... 34 gigabytes per person per day is a lot of digital information being consumed, from digital music to television shows to what pops up on our cell phones to the news we read online. And a lot of digital information being consumed means a LOT of energy goes into providing it. But we're not done yet. Check out the jaw-dropping infographic after the jump that attempts to illustrate how massive the reach of the internet is. With information and graphics like this, we can start to grasp the sheer size of the Internet and our use of digital information. Which means we can start to comprehend how important it is to get data center efficiency under control. More on that after you digest this infographic. Prepare to scroll....
image via Online Education via Gizmodo
Yeah....that's huge! And that's why data centers matter. The UCSD report states, "Hours of information consumption grew at 2.6 percent per year from 1980 to 2008, due to a combination of population growth and increasing hours per capita, from 7.4 to 11.8." And while the bulk of that is radio and television, the information still requires data centers since radio and television shows and stations now rely heavily on computers and utilizing data centers during both content creation and distribution.
The report goes on to state, "Thanks to computers, a full third of words and more than half of bytes are now received interactively.Reading, which was in decline due to the growth of television, tripled from 1980 to 2008, because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet."
It's therefore no wonder that data center energy consumption comprises 1% of the world's electricity and growing, and on a whole they emit enough CO2 to soon be on par with the aviation industry. And it's also no wonder why projects like the IBM and Syracuse University data center which is among the greenest in the world are a big deal.
More on Digital Consumption
The Footprint of Gmail: How Much Energy Would Deleting Email Save?
Dematerializing Our Digital Needs - A Cultural Perspective
Read Online or In Print: What's the Greener Way to Get Your News?