Barriers for startups tackling data center energy consumption

How to measure the problem, the uncertainty around the current situation, and the limited number of growth buyers

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Kyoto, Japan

How much energy do data centers use?

As I have written in the past:

Who is the buyer?

  • Who is the buyer of electricity and where does that appear on the P&L?
  • Who is responsible for that cost?

Where is the growth?

All trends point towards public cloud as the source of growth for infrastructure spend. The colo market is not dead:

Challenging, but not impossible

Startups exist to find unusual opportunities and overcome structural challenges. Data centers are just one of the two components which make up the majority of the energy footprint of IT (Jones, 2018). Networking is the second. And given the expected growth of data volumes over the coming decade (Cisco, 2020), potentially a bigger opportunity than data centers e.g. 5G is initially expected to consume x3 the energy of 4G networks (Koziol, 2019), although the industry says this will fall to become x20 more efficient by 2030 (Orange, 2020).

Co-founder — the best tools for developers. Researching sustainable computing at Uptime Institute.

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