Big Data and Data Center Fun Facts

There’s no question that big data plays a huge role in the lives of millions of people as well as countless businesses. As each year passes, data gets bigger and more storage facilities are built to handle the influx of information and keep it accessible and safe.

Just how big has big data become? How big do data centers have to be to handle that much data? Not surprisingly, with more of the world turning to electronic forms of storage and an ever-increasing amount of data, data centers are becoming a lot more efficient at handling information and compressing it. However, no matter how small data can be compressed, there is so much of it that inevitably, more space and energy is needed to manage it.
Data centers can be broken down into servers and racks where information is stored. In a recent study that was reported by Redcentric, a leading managed service provider, approximately 5.75 million new servers are installed every year. Those servers are handling an estimated 204,000,000 email messages that are sent worldwide every minute. Yes, that’s every minute! So what else besides servers and email messages is impressive about big data and big data centers? Plenty!
Consider the following facts:

  • A large data center has a capacity to use as much electricity as a small town in the United States.
  • The power density of a data center is 100 times more than that of a large commercial office building and is equivalent to 9 small-sized shopping malls of Wal Mart size.
  • In a study conducted “way back” in 2011, nearly 40% of large companies were expected to exceed IT capacity within 18 months. In 2014, capacity is expected to be reached much sooner than that.

Interesting statistics from the data centers of some of the most recognized companies in the world: 
Google Data Center:
At last count, Google has approximately 16 data centers throughout the world. Per a recent estimate conducted by Microsoft, Google has around 900,000 servers in all its data centers based in world. Google’s data centers use around 260 million watts of power which accounts to 0.01% of global energy. This power is enough to consistently power 200,000 homes.
Facebook Data Center:
Facebook, a leading social networking website with around 1 billion users, has its own server farms designed and built by its engineers as per the norms of its open compute project. In 2012, Facebook developed its Prineville data center which is 62,000 square feet. This particular center houses around 500 cold storage racks, which can hold around 2TB of data and each rack uses around 2 Kilowatts of power.
In total, it is estimated that Facebook servers process around 2.4 billion pieces of content and 750TB (terabytes) of data every day. The standard storage rack in Facebook data center facility uses 8 Kilowatts of power. Facebook has data worth over 100 PB (petabytes) capacity in its facility which is derived from a three-tiered storage system. In a recent press release, Facebook claimed that its users utilize a total of around 7PB of photo storage from its facility every month.
Amazon Data Center:
Amazon has around 450,000 servers in its data centers in 7 locations around the world. Beginning in 2008, the company has spent around $86 million on its servers. Amazon stores around 40 billion objects on it and is basically in the cloud storage business. Amazon Web Services has around 40,000 servers dedicated to its cloud customers and gets around 17 million monthly visitors who access 410TB of data from its platform. Around 30 million of Amazon users stream around 40 PB of videos per month.
Microsoft Data Center:
With over 1 billion users and 100,000 individual servers, Microsoft has spent approximately $23 million on its data centers. In 1989, Microsoft came up with its first data center which was 89,000 square feet. In 2006, they designed their own data center with 500,000 square feet and in 2013, built a $112 million facility.
Microsoft’s data centers in Washington and San Antonio are each approximately 470,000 square feet and are both powered by hydro-electric power. Each month these facilities use a combined 8 million gallons of water, which is then channeled through a recycling system.