Many believe that tomorrow Apple will unveil the iPad 2 in San Francisco. Tech bloggers are squirming with anticipation like kids on Christmas Eve. CNET and Engadget will be liveblogging from the event.
The release of Apple’s first iPad tablet last year marked a turning point for computing as we knew it. Information, which we previously downloaded in file format and stored on our individual hard drives, has quickly migrated to centralized data centers where it is stored for us by Internet companies. The iPad, which provides a portable format to access all of that information at the touch of a screen—photos, music, email, search, e-books—confirmed it once and for all: it is the age of the cloud.
The first iPad launch was met by Greenpeace’s release of Make IT Green, a report that examines the growing energy needs and climate impacts of cloud computing, and the data center construction boom that’s supporting this trend. Here is the point:
Ultimately, if cloud providers want to provide a truly green and renewable cloud, they must use their power and influence to not only drive investments near renewable energy sources, but also become involved in setting the policies that will drive rapid deployment of renewable electricity generation economy-wide, and place greater R&D into storage devices that will deliver electricity from renewable sources 24/7.
This is the same message that we have for Facebook, an internet leader with over 500 million users, each of whom share energy-intensive information via the cloud at a rate of more than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) per month.
Facebook, Apple, and the rest of the IT industry need to figure out this growing problem quickly. Otherwise, their carbon footprint has a real potential to cast a dark cloud over exciting announcements like the second coming of the iPad.