Energy footprint of a Solid world


#1

Hi everyone,

Many investors with whom we are in discussion are worried about the ecological footprint of the internet, and ask us if Solid and the decentralized web would be a relevant response to the ever increasing amount of energy consumed by data centers.

Any thoughts on this ?
Will Solid change anything on the amount of energy consumed by the internet ?


#2

An individual Solid POD server can be run on a Raspberry PI using a 2.5A power supply, so assuming 1,000 individuals decided to host their own Solid Server on a Raspberry Pi, you would need to compare the energy consumed by 1,000 solid POD Servers, with a commercial server currently hosting 1,000 users.


#3

That’s a very good question, and not something that there is any current research on AFAIK.

An immediate thought is to point out that Solid is not blockchain, which is a favorite amongst those pointing out (justifiably) the horrendous use of electrical power by some cryptocurrency miners. Than again, not all blockchains are based on proof of work, and there is a growing focus on this problematic side of blockchains, so this might not be that big of a problem in the future.

Solid is built upon the existing web, so it doesn’t require any big shifts in infrastructure, which is also useful in keeping the footprint down.

Speaking against Solid is the fact that decentralization of data might result in more movement of data across server clusters and aggregation of data on servers that might not be as efficient if data had been more centralized. But if this is the case, I still think there’s more value in decentralization of data for us as a society, and I don’t think there’s that much to save anyway.

I think a lot of comes down to “How much energy does Solid require compared to X”. Right now there’s not that much to go on, but I hope we as a community can value choices that keep the energy consumption at a low.


#4

Thank you very much @megoth and @richard.

What I hear from your contributions is that at the moment, we don’t have a clue what the impact of a Solid world would be. I’ll try to keep digging on the web to see if I find anything as my investors won’t like that answer at all :slight_smile: I’ll definitely post here if I find anything.

In the meantime… pushing our data centers to cold weather locations and solar / nuclear powering them are probably our best options.