Ballmer’s million-server claim doesn’t seem so crazy

Well, it really only seems silly because we still can’t do it in the nano ….yet.


A recent statement by Steve Ballmer that Microsoft (s msft) is operating more than a million servers raised quite a few eyebrows, but do you really know what 1 million servers means? It probably means a lot of real estate, a lot of power and a lot of money. That’s according to Amazon VP and Distinguised Engineer (and former Microsoft employee) James Hamilton, who broke down Microsoft’s million-server claim in a blog post Tuesday night.

From an energy-consumption perspective, he wrote, one could estimate that a million servers would consume 2.6 terawatt hours of energy a year. That ends up being more than the total consumption of 230,000 American homes, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and about in line with what Google reported in 2011 that it consumes.

Building enough data centers to house all those servers — somewhere between 15 and 30…

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