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Rising Data Center Costs Linked to AI Demands

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A datacenter.

Data production is growing increasingly bloated and trivial; current estimates say 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated on a daily basis.

Credit: Adobestock

Runaway demand for artificial intelligence is prompting some data center operators to raise commercial leases to cover the added costs of powering stacks of computer servers running increasingly energy-intensive workloads.

Sonal Gupta, a cloud infrastructure manager at Carlsberg AS, a Copenhagen-based brewer, blames the surge in AI for a recent price increase charged by the company's data center provider. Advanced AI tools, he said, "require more infrastructure, which influences the overall cost," citing the need for added processing power, advanced chips and other expensive components.

Data centers, the warehouse-size buildings that house multiple racks of servers, routers and other information-technology equipment—providing the underlying infrastructure for cloud computing—already consume massive amounts of energy. Businesses lease space in the facilities to store data and run software applications, with rates typically based on power consumption. 

Data center customers, which range from small businesses to giant cloud providers, are currently eating up power faster than operators can expand capacity. In Northern Virginia, the world's largest data center market with more than 275 facilities, the amount of power available for lease this year shrank to 38.4 megawatts, from 46.6 megawatts a year ago, according to the latest analysis by commercial real-estate services firm CBRE Group. The declines came even as overall inventories grew 19.5% year-over-year to a total of 2,132 megawatts, CBRE said.

From The Wall Street Journal
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