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January 2014, Volume 3, Number 1

What’s the true cost of helium disk drives?

While the IT industry has paid lip service to the idea of "green computing," the truth is that there is nothing environmentally friendly about technology. From the toxic substances used in the hardware to the vast amounts of power consumed by data centers, the only thing that is ever truly green is the color of the money we spend, at least in the US. The public cloud changes things a bit, in the same way that electric cars change things. Electric cars still cause pollution; it's just that the pollution is centralized to where power is generated, and there is less of it per car because of the economies of scale. Public clouds still consume vast amounts of power, but that power is increasingly from places with capacity to generate it cheaply. There is also the economy of scale, too, which forms the basis for all things public cloud. Full of hot air Technology certainly drives some improvements that benefit the environment.  But it's hard to reconcile. And the latest disk drives from HGST/Western Digital have brought these ideas to...

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