In 1999, Peter Huber and Mark Mills projected that half the world’s supply of electricity is going to be consumed by our computers.
If you consider that the major search engines have about 2 million servers, each shedding about 300 watts each year, linked to hard drives shedding about 50% more than that again, and about half of the total is taken by the cost of cooling these great heat sources, which added to the system inefficiencies might add up to about 5 gigawatts. That’s about as much as Las Vegas on the hottest day of the year.
So whilst we are so concerned about sustainability, perhaps we might like to think about how we can design our computer networks to be more efficient… Bechtolsheim has a few ideas that could turn out to be interesting – and he’s done it before.
In case you missed out on Bechtolsheim, you might want to think about Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Sun. He provided the first outside money for Brin and Page, founded Sun, was a major early investor with Microsoft and invented some Ethernet switches that were boughtÂ by Cisco… That a heck of a record for the German.
When asked whether the huge infrastructure overheads of the current IT regime gives an unassailable advantage to the big players, he responded, “Only if no one changes the game.”