the VOA Special English Economics Report.
Internet is sometimes described as a cloud -- a big, borderless area of
computing power. But this power has to come from somewhere.
centers are buildings full of servers. These powerful computers store, process
and move information. They make the Web work.
farms" contain thousands of machines -- millions in all at data centers
worldwide. And there is strong demand for more as a major change takes place in
traditionally done with software stored on a personal computer are now
increasingly offered as services on the Internet.
Apps, for example, combines e-mail, word processing and other applications.
Groups can work together online without the need for special software.
companies, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft, also offer software as a
Miller is editor of Data Center Knowledge. He says the number of data centers
has jumped in the last three or four years. But all that computing power takes
another kind of power which also has to come from somewhere.
centers need energy not only to operate their servers but to cool and protect
Environmental Protection Agency says the United States has about ten thousand
data centers. The E.P.A. estimates that they use almost two percent of the
country's electricity. In two thousand six, the most recent year reported,
power costs reached four and a half billion dollars.
amount and cost of energy use by data centers is the subject of growing concern
and criticism. Some data centers use only about twenty to thirty percent of
their computing power.
wind power or other renewable energy for data centers could help the situation.
Another answer is to make servers more energy-efficient. The E.P.A. has recently
set rules for measuring and rating the energy use of servers.
another solution may come from virtualization. This lets one server work like
several. Usually, a server runs a single operating system, like Linux or
Windows. Virtualization lets both run at the same time.
Miller at datacenterknowledge.com says the need for data centers will only
increase as the Internet becomes more central to everyday life.
applications are becoming more complex, so are data centers. Many companies are
having trouble finding enough skilled people to manage them.
that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.