The New York Times takes datacenters to task for wasting electricity, but I do think they’ve missed two crucial points on the other side of the debate:
- there are strong incentives to reduce power consumption, as that is a huge capital drain, and, well, companies want to reduce their costs. (I found it strange that one of their sources was quoted as saying that they don’t get bonuses for reducing power consumption.)
- each machine in a datacenter serves many people. That desktop serves just you, and that too for a small fraction of the day. A world in which everyone uses tiny devices (phones, tablets, laptops) backed by giant datacenters will use drastically lesser power per person than one in which most have desktop machines.