Cache servers are a fixture behind most modern websites. A major search engine such as Google may have as many as 1,000 servers dedicated solely to caching. Now, there is a way to reduce the energy consumption of such services.
Researchers from MIT have introduced a new system for data center caching that uses flash memory over the traditional RAM memory, which is notoriously power-hungry. As news.mit.edu reports, “Per gigabyte of memory, flash consumes about 5% as much energy as RAM and costs about one-tenth as much. It also has about 100 times the storage density, meaning that more data can be crammed into a smaller space. In addition to costing less and consuming less power, a flash caching system could dramatically reduce the number of cache servers required by a data center.”
Reducing the energy consumption of data centers has been top news as of late. In August, Apple announced it will open a new data center powered entirely by renewable energy. The company is investing $1.375 billion in constructing a facility in Waukee, including purchasing 2,000 acres of land in the area.
Also last month, Facebook announced it’s new, Ohio data center will be powered exclusively by renewable energy. According to abcnews.go.com, Rachel Peterson, the company’s director of data center strategy and development, said the availability of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and hydro, was critical to choosing the location — a factor underlined by Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has pushed back against legislative efforts to turn back the state’s alternative energy requirements.