Saturday, October 14, 2006

5 Gigawatts!!!

It's the Internet Cloud, a formless mass out there that you rely upon more and more every day to do your work. Think Google - like, what would you
do without it? Of course you can't, but these massive 'applications' shall we call them are giving rise to a whole bunch of new rules about how things are going to look in the future.
There's so many good quotes in this one, but this is one of my favorites:

Google's success stems from more than foresight, ingenuity, and chutzpah. In every era, the winning companies are those that waste what is abundant – as signalled by precipitously declining prices – in order to save what is scarce. Google has been profligate with the surfeits of data storage and backbone bandwidth. Conversely, it has been parsimonious with that most precious of resources, users' patience.

So Google is wasting storage and bandwidth, so what? That's virtually the definition of every IT department out there. Here I think is the key though - they are wasting now to create the most efficient thing out there in the future. From a green perspective, that is a good thing, that's it. Imagine if every email account in the world was run by a single provider, that would be an incredible savings over the crazyiness of today, where people email videos back and forth to each other regularly.

There are a few other temporary problems, like the fact that this infrastructure consumes about 5 gigawatts of power per year, enough to power Las Vegas. But this is merely cost accounting, and it's really just a cost of doing business - when Microsoft started supporting 820 million email and messaging accounts, their power usage increased ten fold too.

But the final kicker is that there is no way to stop these players from finishing the game - it must happen, it is the most efficient way to deliver service. It is one might say a virtual monopoly. And contrary to what others might believe, we are all going to benefit from it.

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