Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it has 300 million subscribers. The fantastic growth of the company is mirrored by the rapid advancement of Twitter and many other web services that have spawned ecosystems of their own. While these services get most of the media attention, a much bigger story is what lies beneath — the Internet's infrastructure and the grid that powers it.
"We have entered this new era where essentially everything is on all the time," Alan Meier, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, recently told The New York Times. And increasingly, everything is connected to the Internet. The biggest impact is being felt by the electricity grid. The power consumed by servers alone doubled between 2000 and 2005 to about 123 billion kilowatt-hours. Data center power use is likely to increase another 76 percent by 2010, according to Jonathan Koomey, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley and Stanford University.
I can't imagine the energy implications of what's coming next. There are 444.3 million broadband subscribers in the world, according to the Broadband Forum, and that number is only going to increase over the next few years as emerging telecom economies such as India, Brazil and Russia ramp up their Internet efforts. A whopping 250 million people are going to connect to the Internet wirelessly by the end of 2009. Just imagine the bandwidth and computing horsepower needed if all of them started streaming movies from Netflix, listening to music by visiting Spotify, and sharing videos and photos via Facebook.
We are starting to see a spike in demand for everything from data centers to backhaul connections to content delivery networks. In the month of September alone, four new major data centers were announced that would cost upwards of $1.3 billion to add over 750,000 square feet of new data center space. |
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Great Internet Buildout Continues
By Om Malik | Monday, September 21, 2009 | 6:30 AM PT | GigaOM