Data centers have grown massively without a corresponding growth in energy use, says Francois Sterin of Google 

Far from being massive polluters, data centers are leading the world on efficiency, Google’s head of infrastructure told DCD in November. 

“In the summer we had a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab that showed that the data center energy consumption in the US showed minimal growth between 2010 and 2014, while between 2000 and 2010 it had almost doubled,” said Francois Sterin director of global infrastructure at Google. “This is important because it shows the skeptics that data centers are not the next big polluter. We are showing the way as an industry sector that can grow sustainably.”

The reasons behind this are energy efficiency efforts within data centers, and the move to the cloud which aggregates scattered inefficient on-premises IT systems into big colo spaces and public cloud services. “It is two birds with one stone,” he said. “The two effects combine.” 

Lower carbon emissions is almost a by-product: “The two drivers will be lower cost, and what they can achieve in the cloud that they cannot achieve otherwise in their own data centers.