A new study says that 30% of all physical servers in data centers are comatose, or are using energy but delivering no useful information. What's remarkable is that that percentage hasn't changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing.
U.S. data centers are using more electricity than they need. It takes 34 power plants, each capable of generating 500 megawatts of electricity, to power all the data centers in operation today. By 2020, the nation will need another 17 similarly sized power plants to meet projected data center energy demands as economic activity becomes increasingly digital.
The White House plan to cut carbon dioxide pollution by 30% seeks to meet its goals, in part, through efficiency improvements. This could put further pressure on data centers to improve efficiency, many of which are powering servers that are doing very little work or none at all.
The Uptime Institute estimates that 20% of all racked IT equipment has no use other than to warm the planet. But for data center operators that do manage to unplug equipment, savings can be significant.