If the Internet were a highway, data would be its vehicles. The data centers, which house much of the Internet’s production, are the sprawling metropolises. In real terms, the centers are housed throughout the world, storing large parts of the data which span Mount Everest in discs several times over, if you can actually picture that. From Google’s colorful factory that looks like a children’s playground to Bahnhof’s wartime bunker, these buildings take care of valuable pieces of information to keep our lives rolling in this digital age. Unfortunately, a problem has arisen recently concerning energy use of these mega storage units. According to the Holt and Vonderau reading,” a single data center can require more power than a medium sized town”. By 2020, it is predicted that they will use more carbon emissions than air travel. Do we have the energy to supply these key structures for not just now, but for the deep future? Climate change is an issue whether or not the President is overlooking it. What do you think, Hank Green?
As Davidson students, the “data center corridor” is right in our backyard in North Carolina with Google, Apple, and Facebook hubs. Only using four percent electricity from renewable sources could be absolutely awful for us in decades to come if the trend continues. As NC residents, it may be time to think about the harmful effects of the nearly astronomical lines of data using electricity that harms our environment. Fortunately, steps have been taken to maybe move us closer to the right track. Apple has installed a massive amount of solar panels at an NC location, and Google has been taking steps as well to promote environmentally-friendly data centers in areas around the world. If we can have these amazing data storage technologies along with green energy resources, we will truly have the best of both worlds.
Jennifer, and Patrick Vonderau. “Where the Internet Lives.” Signal Traffic, University of Illinois, 2015, pp. 71–93, courses.digitaldavidson.net/dig101-2017/documents/holt-whero-the-internet-lives-2015.pdf.