Why it matters: As more data centers are built and global energy consumption continues to rise, powering all these servers reliably is going to require building more resilient energy grids. Downtime is not only an expensive event for a data center, but an inexcusable one, and this is only going to be amplified as cloud computing becomes more critical to daily life.
Across the globe data centers are consuming in excess of 416 terawatt hours of electricity annually. This is estimated equates to around two percent of the world's energy produced. Even at wholesale pricing for electricity, data centers are still demanding tens of billions of dollars worth of energy.
Aside from the sheer scale of data centers, their power consumption shows just how reliant we have become on these modern pieces of infrastructure. In-house server rooms are slowly losing any competitive advantages compared with cloud computing due to economies of scale. Looking ahead to 2021, cloud computing will account for 95 percent of data center traffic, with cloud computing handling more than 94 percent of high performance compute workloads.
Generation of mass amounts of data has also given reason for hyperscale data centers to grow exponentially. In 2016, there was an estimated 286 exabytes of data globally. In 2021, we will surpass 1.3 zettabytes of stored data. For those playing along at home, that's 13 followed by 20 zeros worth of bytes.
Going forward, many new data centers will be outfitted with massive power capabilities. Silent Partner Group of Companies is looking to dwarf Google's existing data centers by building more efficient and scalable facilities. Google's Hamina, Finland location is capable of 100MW of power, whereas SPGC is looking to build six 250MW data centers across Europe.
Now that Amazon Web Services data center locations have been made public, competitors have had the doors opened to analysis and will be able to replicate or improve upon some aspects that Amazon already does well.