Freitag Jan 16, 2009

Seven Grams Revisited

After the "7 gram story" not only did hit Techcrunch, but also my favourite german-language news site, let's revisit my original calculation:
  • In 2005, Prof. Paul A. Strassmann George Mason University, held a presentation “Google - A Model for the Systems Architecture of the Future”, pdf here. Slide 11 says that in those days, 31654 2-socket x86 servers worked in parallel to serve 40 million searches a day.
  • So how much energy does a 2-socket x86 server at Google consume? Google engineer Luiz André Barroso gave an answer in his 2007 paper "Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer". They measured 143 Watts.
  • These 143 Watts have to be multiplied with a power factor. In 2007 I used a factor of 2 (the industry standard, meaning: "For every Watt fed into the computer you feed another Watt in Cooling etc.). In 2008 Google reported a PUE factor of 1.21. With this, every server actually draws 173 watts for power and cooling combined.
  • So 31654 servers times 173 watts times 24 hours gives us 131427 KWh energy a day. Divided by 40mln searches, that's 3.3 Wh or 2 grams CO2 per search, using 600 grams of CO2 for every KWh generated with the german energy mix of nuclear, carbon-based and renewable sources
  • In 2005, a dual socket x86 server meant two cores. Today we have eight cores and roughly four times the throughput per watt, bringing us down to 0.8 Wh or 0.5 grams CO2 per search
  • So the difference between the "7 grams" from 2007 and this calculation today is caused by: Quad Core CPUs, lower measured power draw of the servers, PUE of 1.21, carbon factor calculated with energy mix instead of coal only. Net result: A factor of 12
  • And the real number Google disclosed this week is even lower: 0.3Wh or 0.2 grams CO2
  • That is really not much: If you start a search every 30 seconds on a typical Laptop (30 Watts), your client uses more energy triggering than Google executing the search.

  • Montag Jan 12, 2009

    Wrong by a factor of 35

    Sorry Google: In 2007, I guestimated the carbon dioxide emission of one Google search to be roughly 7 grams. That number was never intended to frighten people from doing internet searches, because I always assumed that Google would implement Search as efficient as possible. Just think of the advantage you get when you do search 10% more efficient than your competitors while doing billions of searches.

    After the Sunday Times had published last week that Alex Wissner-Gross estimates the same number Google now officially has answered.
    I was wrong. Very wrong. Wrong by a factor of 35. Wrong even when you take into account that Moore's Law and Google engineers had 20 months to increase efficiency since my first guestimate.

    So now we have it: One Google Search produces as much CO2 as 10 seconds of breathing!

    Update: Could be that the Sunday Times directly took my number (after generating 0.2 grams of CO2 and finding this blog with a Google search) and connected it to other work done by Alex Wissner-Gross. Funny how an innocent number can make big news 20 months later!
    At least I got my 2 seconds of fame on Techcrunch: "This obscure blog post" ... "Rolf Kersten’s Weblog (who?)" Cheers!

    Mittwoch Aug 15, 2007

    Als "Green IT"-Gastblogger bei Innovativ-In

    Durch die Sun EcoTour auf uns aufmerksam geworden, hat Elita Wiegand mich eingeladen, eine Reihe von Gastblogs zum Thema "Green IT" auf ihrer Innovativ-In Plattform zu posten. Hier die Links zu meinen fünf Postings:

     

    Freitag Jul 13, 2007

    A Blackbox powered by a wind turbine?

    Can you operate a datacenter without producing CO2? STRATO - the biggest webhoster in Germany - claim they can. They plan to buy their 30 Gigawatthours of electricity they need each year from a hybrid plant.

    Sun is showing neat Blackbox pictures like the one on the right.

    A Blackbox is a datacenter in a box - capable of running and cooling hundreds of servers drawing 200 Kilowatts of power. Let's see - a wind turbine producing 200 Kilowatts of electricit is no rocket science these days. Repower already builds monster turbines with a propeller diameter of 126m and 5000 Kilowatts rated power. But wait a minute: We cannot calculate with rated power, because the wind is not blowing with full speed 8760 hours/year. So what is a typical yield factor of a wind turbine?

    End of 2006, wind turbines with 20,6 Gigawatts of rated power were installed in Germany, producing 30.600 GWh of electricity in 2006. That's a yield factor of 17%. Not bad.

    So when adding a really big battery to the picture above, a wind turbine with 200 KW / 17% / (battery effciency 80%) = 1500 Kilowatts of rated power would be sufficient to feed a Blackbox. That's the smallest turbine Repower offers these days.

    This is exactly why the Blackbox is not only clever engineering to cram as many servers as possible in a small footprint, but also an ecologically responsible concept. Do not bring (CO2 emission tainted) electricity to your datacenter, build your datacenter where CO2-free power is available!

    Mittwoch Jul 11, 2007

    EcoRider CO2 balance, revisited

    The last five days, Martin covered the first 300 kilometers of his EcoTour through Germany. The vehicle carried the pedaleur himself, luggage for a week and provided protection from heavy rain showers. Looking at other vehicles meeting these specs, how does the EcoRider compare?

    Enter the competitors:

        
      BMW C1 motorbike
     Smart FourTwo CDI
     Sun EcoRider
     Power Source
     Gasoline Diesel Muscle/Electric power
     Consumption
     2.9 liters/100km
     3.2 liters/100km
     2.2KWh/100km
     CO2 emission
     77g/km 88g/km
     22g/km
     CO2 per person
     77g/km 44g/km 22g/km

     The CO2 emission of the EcoRider was calculated as if all the electric power would have been created by using a Diesel powered generator with an efficiency of 30%.

    So even with homegrown inefficient power generation, using the EcoRider for dry trips with luggage up to 70km is better for the CO2 balance than everything else. And better for your health.

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