Linode's energy footprint

Following the recent Clean Our Cloud Greenpeace campaign and the How dirty is your data? report, some of my clients started asking about my hosting service energy footprint and expressed their interest in using a carbon neutral service provider.

Being Linode my main provider, I'd like to have some information about Linode's corporate environmental footprint and in particular about Linode's data centers energy footprint.

Thank you.

38 Replies

I dunno, my answer was pretty serious. But to elucidate and summarize:

  • I'd guess about 10 watts per Linode 512, including cooling.

  • Linode does not operate their own datacenters, so the rest of it is out of their direct control. However, the industry is very motivated to reduce electrical consumption as much as possible, since it's a major (if not the major) ongoing cost of a facility. This isn't directly a "green" thing, but rather a $ (or £ or ¥) thing… but the end result is the same.

  • Linode employees are encouraged to take self-directed steps to reduce their ecological footprint, such as biking to work, showering once per week, and minimizing the use of pants. (edit: disregard this)

Back over in this other thread, I guessed about 500 watts per physical host, including HVAC. I suspect this is a little low.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha.

Oh, you weren't joking.

I'm sure a VPS server is much more efficient per web site than a dedicated server.

There are companies out there that charge extra for "green" servers, sort of like the government subsidizing electric cars. I read an article this week that said it would take 47 years to break even with a Government Motors Volt.

@obs:

1.21 gigawatts!

A bolt of lightning!

@glg:

A bolt of lightning!

Those are niether politically correct or "carbon dioxide neutral" - how can we stop them?

James

P.S. Throwing peices of coal in the air would literally be "carbon neutral" as it would fall back to earth. Unless we throw really hard.

@zunzun:

@glg:

A bolt of lightning!

Those are niether politically correct or "carbon dioxide neutral" - how can we stop them?

Far from it. In fact it recently became obvious that these also produce gamma rays and we all know what that means.

@Azathoth:

…these also produce gamma rays and we all know what that means.

It means that if you get hit with lightning often enough, you will become big and strong and green - ripping out of whatever you are wearing except of course for your miraculous stretching pants.

James

@zunzun:

@Azathoth:

…these also produce gamma rays and we all know what that means.

It means that if you get hit with lightning often enough, you will become big and strong and green - ripping out of whatever you are wearing except of course for your miraculous stretching pants.

James

At least you'll match the linode colour scheme.

C'mon, guys. OP is being serious. Can we at least offer lame answers like "Greener than most of the clients' SUVs"?

@obs:

4. Be polite or you'll be eaten by a grue

In a totally offtopic manner, I wonder how many of us here actually know what this means. :mrgreen:

OK here's a better lame answer "Linode is really green, green is their favourite colour, they're so green they're super green!"

Considering this is a forum of geeks, I'd say a fair few know what a grue is :P

@obs:

Considering this is a forum of geeks, I'd say a fair few know what a grue is :P

Yeh, since most are wielding LAMPs, they probably never met one. :lol:

Darn it I always knew apache had a use! my LEMP stack isn't going to protect me.

@zunzun:

…except of course for your miraculous stretching pants.

James

OMG Amazeballs!! I need some of those pants.

@hoopycat:

Linode employees are encouraged to [minimize] the use of pants.

Don't forget Sheryl Crow's advice of using only one square of toilet paper per trip to the toilet:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6583067.stm

If you do take this advice, please do not minimize your use of pants.

James

Maybe we should take the advise of the romans and use sponges on sticks…

Or bidets. And then we can cool the servers with that water.

Edit: Dear mother of god, this will give entire new meaning to the phrase crappy pagerank…

I'd hate for that to leak…

I gotta take a data leak… (I can see this going bad fast… but I couldn't resist, sorry folks)

Right off the bat most any cloud provider is going to be significantly more efficient than any dedicated or colocated solution (unless you're getting really high utilization on your servers).

Customers can do a great deal themselves by running their infrastructure on the smallest and least number of Linodes possible (without compromising performance or reliability/availability, obviously). This has the added benefit of saving money.

All too often we see people here using money in place of proper configuration. You can throw 10GB of RAM at Apache and be perfectly happy with the default Apache configuration, or you can change the Apache config file and probably run the same workload just peachy with 512MB of RAM. This has the added benefit of using a heck of a lot less power.

And how (exactly) does this fine thread save the world?

China willingly steals all of the wests technology, except those concerning environment safety. China ranks #1 in green house gases, and is doing NOTHING to slow that down.

The middle east and far asia is by far the most polluted regions of the planet.

India and Pakistan are rapidly shooting up the scale as the top emitters of CO2.

So I should pay 2-12 times the going rate of electricity to be "green" so I can make some tree hugger who can't do basic math happy?

An excellent attitude for apathetic apocalyptic destruction, vonskippy.

Edit: More on-topic, Linode doesn't run their own data centers. Is it common for colocation customers to figure out their PUE or look at where their power comes from? I'd expect them to only look at the costs they can directly control, which are, what, space and electricity usage? As for where the electricity comes from, from Linode's POV the only relevant answer is "the wall".

The best you can do is look at the companies that provide colocation to Linode. Here's what the people who run the London datacenter have to say: www.telecitygroup.com/environment.

+1 for green renewables

Linode could increase their profit by switching to green renewables, then use that as a sales point in their sale strategy and advertising.

According to Greenpeace, both Amazon and Digital Realty are "Stuck in dirty energy past: Efficiency only, using mostly dirty energy, have taken few or no steps to switch to renewables". Source: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campai … kingclean/">http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/A-Green-Internet/clickingclean/

@Francewhoa:

Linode could increase their profit by switching to green renewables
And what magic pie-in-the-sky tree hugger spreadsheet are you using to back up that business model tidbit?

Holy necroposting, Batman!

@akerl:

necroposting
Sounds like the term for "composting" with zombies (but hey, at least that's green right?).

@vonskippy:

And how (exactly) does this fine thread save the world?

China willingly steals all of the wests technology, except those concerning environment safety. China ranks #1 in green house gases, and is doing NOTHING to slow that down.

The middle east and far asia is by far the most polluted regions of the planet.

India and Pakistan are rapidly shooting up the scale as the top emitters of CO2.

So I should pay 2-12 times the going rate of electricity to be "green" so I can make some tree hugger who can't do basic math happy?

And?

Just because it doesn't fix all the world's problems, doesn't mean you shouldn't bother fixing what you can.

Your post is utter irrational nonsense masquerading as sound analysis.

Linode doesn't operate its own datacentres. About all they can do to be more "green" is to colocate in datacenters that are powered by renewable energy, such as something in Vermont or Quebec. And while they could certainly do so (OVH is busy building the largest datacentre in the world near Montreal), Linode needs more than one datacentre, and they need to be geographically diverse. If they need facilities in a region that isn't powered by renewables, there's nothing Linode can do about it short of building their own facilities with on-site power generation. And that's excessive.

@BerenErchamion:

Just because it doesn't fix all the world's problems, doesn't mean you shouldn't bother fixing what you can.
Except that this little tree hugger scenario (i.e. greening up Linode) doesn't fix anything.

It's like bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.

Go fix China and the rest of the 3rd world instead of picking at the low hanging (and completely inefficient) fruit here in the states.

But thanks for commenting - I think "utter irrational nonsense" will be the name of my new band. So put your hands together for U…..I…..N. Yeaaaaaaaaaa

@vonskippy:

@BerenErchamion:

Just because it doesn't fix all the world's problems, doesn't mean you shouldn't bother fixing what you can.
Except that this little tree hugger scenario (i.e. greening up Linode) doesn't fix anything.

It's like bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.

Go fix China and the rest of the 3rd world instead of picking at the low hanging (and completely inefficient) fruit here in the states.

But thanks for commenting - I think "utter irrational nonsense" will be the name of my new band. So put your hands together for U…..I…..N. Yeaaaaaaaaaa

0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 > 0.

It's not difficult.

Even if Linode went out of their way to make sure that they offset their energy footprint (they would have to get their DC's to use green energy or maybe pay to get some green energy made that exceed the energy they use), it would still not matter.

Data centers use less than 2 % of the worlds energy according to http://www.koomey.com/post/8323374335

Of that, a part goes to cooling, and another part goes to lights, heating and other standard things in a DC. And finally, there is the power that actually goes to the servers.

Of this, the datacenter control the first 2 leaving Linode to the last part. Except if they want to switch DCs. They did in fact switch from FMT1 to FMT2. Not sure if that changed anything in the power usage or where the power come from in Fremont.

The part Linode effectively can control is what hardware they use and how much power that consumes. And as stated before, it makes sense for them to look at those numbers.

For example, going from Intel Xeon L5520 (http://ark.intel.com/products/40201/Int … -Intel-QPI">http://ark.intel.com/products/40201/Intel-Xeon-Processor-L5520-8M-Cache-226-GHz-586-GTs-Intel-QPI) with a power consumption of 0.75 V - 1.35 V to Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 (http://ark.intel.com/products/75277/Int … e-2_80-GHz">http://ark.intel.com/products/75277/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2680-v2-25M-Cache-2_80-GHz) at 0.65 V to 1.3 V saves a tiny bit of power.

And manufacturers generally do have focus on reducing power usage, so I'm sure other components have gone down in power usage as well. Maybe most note-worthy the switch from SAS 15K RPM to SSD since the SSD doesn't contain any moving parts.

With that said, we haven't taken into account the resources needed to create all those things. And that's where it may be more effective to fix things in China first. If they get fixed in China, we'll save a huge amount of energy.

If we get more people to use public transport rather than driving a car alone on the highway, we'd save a huge amount of energy as well.

But doing more than already is being done (because it makes sense financially) in this area would be a waste of time compared to other areas where the effect would be bigger.

With that being said, I do understand the problems associated with the climate, and I do not say we should stop research in this area. But we should focus on the areas that matter.

@BerenErchamion:

0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 > 0.

It's not difficult.

So we agree, any effort here would be nothing but a insignificant rounding error, yet end up costing Linode and it's customers more money.

Thanks for making my point clearer.

@vonskippy:

@BerenErchamion:

0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 > 0.

It's not difficult.

So we agree, any effort here would be nothing but a insignificant rounding error,
Actually not; I was just demonstrating the insanity of your "argument" in the abstract, not making a statement as to how it applies in this particular case.

> yet end up costing Linode and it's customers more money.
Better than people dying from the effects of climate change.

@BerenErchamion:

@vonskippy:

@BerenErchamion:

0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 > 0.

It's not difficult.

So we agree, any effort here would be nothing but a insignificant rounding error,
Actually not; I was just demonstrating the insanity of your "argument" in the abstract, not making a statement as to how it applies in this particular case.

So if you could, you would make Linode double the cost for everyone with all Linodes just to fix a very, very small part of the energy problems? Have you read my post above?

@BerenErchamion:

> yet end up costing Linode and it's customers more money.
Better than people dying from the effects of climate change.

Every minute you spent here arguing that we all should essentially double our costs in order to satisfy you, you can't spend actually making a difference. Every minute you don't make a difference in one of the big areas, more people will die because of it.

I don't disagree with doing things for the climate, however, I believe you should go ahead and do things where it actually makes a difference. Such as getting more people to use public transport instead of driving in their own car 1 person.

BerenErchamion,

Do you only use green or renewable energy? How about your home? Your vehicle(s)? Are you only using pubic transportation? Are you petitioning your local busses or trains to use only green or renewable energy? How about your employer? Your ISP? Your local government offices?

The point is that you should start at home and change what you can. If everyone who was as dedicated to this cause as you are worked at the local level to change their communities then with enough of a grass roots effort they can start making real changes.

As far as Linode is concerned, if you want to use a "green" hosting company then find one and vote with your dollars. I'm sure the expenses are significant and they could use as many like-minded customers as they can get. Supporting a company that already shares your positions is easier than trying to convert a company that doesn't currently operate the way you wish they would.

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