Synthetic Monitoring

Simulate visitor interaction with your site to monitor the end user experience.

View Product Info


Simulate visitor interaction

Identify bottlenecks and speed up your website.

Learn More

Real User Monitoring

Enhance your site performance with data from actual site visitors

View Product Info


Real user insights in real time

Know how your site or web app is performing with real user insights

Learn More

Infrastructure Monitoring Powered by SolarWinds AppOptics

Instant visibility into servers, virtual hosts, and containerized environments

View Infrastructure Monitoring Info
Comprehensive set of turnkey infrastructure integrations

Including dozens of AWS and Azure services, container orchestrations like Docker and Kubernetes, and more 

Learn More

Application Performance Monitoring Powered by SolarWinds AppOptics

Comprehensive, full-stack visibility, and troubleshooting

View Application Performance Monitoring Info
Complete visibility into application issues

Pinpoint the root cause down to a poor-performing line of code

Learn More

Log Management and Analytics Powered by SolarWinds Loggly

Integrated, cost-effective, hosted, and scalable full-stack, multi-source log management

 View Log Management and Analytics Info
Collect, search, and analyze log data

Quickly jump into the relevant logs to accelerate troubleshooting

Learn More

US data centers consuming as much power as 5 million houses

Power linesThere have been a lot of numbers thrown around in the last year about the power consumption of servers and data centers. For example, servers and their cooling are now said to consume more power than color TVs in the US.

To try and make a bit more sense out of the general information overflow, we here at Pingdom decided to put together some interesting facts and figures from different sources and add some calculations of our own to hopefully give a decently clear picture of the current situation.

How much power does ONE data center use?

  • One large, 50,000 square feet data center consumes around five megawatt of power.
  • Five megawatt is enough to power 5,000 houses.

Of course, there are data centers that use significantly more power. For example, Equinix is said to be building a data center with a server farm consuming up to 30 megawatts, which would be enough to power 30,000 houses.

How much power do all data centers consume in total?

  • Servers (and their cooling) in US data centers use the equivalent of a full year’s output from five 1,000 megawatt power plants.
  • That is as much power as the entire state of Mississippi.
  • Or enough to power five million houses.

It should be mentioned that even though the above numbers seem large, some of the data above is based on numbers for 2005, and don’t include other equipment involved, such as network equipment. We have almost three years of explosive data center expansions to add to that, and things aren’t exactly slowing down.

How fast are data centers expanding?

  • In 2003, there were 5.6 million servers used in US data centers.
  • In 2007, there were 11.8 million.

That’s more than a 2x increase in the number of servers in just four years.

What does the future look like?

Companies like Google, Microsoft and many others are aggressively expanding their infrastructure. For example, Bill Gates recently stated that Microsoft will soon have “many millions of servers”.

Considering that cooling currently uses as much energy as actually powering the servers, there are great environmental and cost benefits to be gained from improving energy efficiency, and there is plenty of research being done in that department.

If energy efficiency could improve just 20 percent, that would be a power saving equivalent to the output from an entire 1,000 megawatt power plant. Or, to continue the house analogy, enough to power one million houses.

The numbers in this article are of course estimates, but it’s not hard to see why power consumption has become a major cost factor for data centers.


Aside from the links above, we used information gathered from the following articles: Data Center Power Consumption: By the Numbers, Study: Data Center Power Usage Exploding, Is the Data Center Power Drain an Urban Myth?, Number of the Day: 11.8 Million.

SolarWinds Observability now offers synthetic transaction monitoring

Powerful transaction monitoring now complements the availability and real user [...]

Exit Rate vs Bounce Rate – Which One You Should Improve and Why

Tracking your website’s exit and bounce rates will give you insight into how [...]

Introduction to Observability

These days, systems and applications evolve at a rapid pace. This makes analyzi [...]

Webpages Are Getting Larger Every Year, and Here’s Why it Matters

Last updated: February 29, 2024 Average size of a webpage matters because it [...]

A Beginner’s Guide to Using CDNs

Last updated: February 28, 2024 Websites have become larger and more complex [...]

Monitor your website’s uptime and performance

With Pingdom's website monitoring you are always the first to know when your site is in trouble, and as a result you are making the Internet faster and more reliable. Nice, huh?



Gain availability and performance insights with Pingdom – a comprehensive web application performance and digital experience monitoring tool.

Start monitoring for free