There has been huge growth in the number of data centers powering cloud computing solutions and in the amount of power the locations use. This has driven the need for more of these data centers, containing information from companies like Facebook, Google and eBay, to find ways to be more sustainable, according to Sustainablog.

"Historically, much of this data processing has been accomplished locally in corporate IT facilities," the website said. "In recent years, many companies have outsourced IT infrastructure and software applications to cloud based service providers that run large data centers. The benefits to these companies include lower costs, increased flexibility and enhanced processing power."

The growth has been fueled by cloud based services and other internet information, and now more data than ever needs to be stored. An infographic posted on CleanTechnica by ABB showed that one data center uses the same amount of power as 25,000 houses in the United States. By 2020, with the current growth rates continuing, these centers will create 359 megatons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 48 percent of cars in the United States.

What to look for in the future
According to a graph by Cisco Systems posted on Sustainablog, 64 percent of data centers will be in the cloud by 2016, with nearly 7 total zettabytes of data through year being processed by these centers.

To make sure these data centers can be more sustainable going forward, the website said there are some things that need to take place, including:
- Technological improvements that will help make operations more efficient and allow providers to better meet demands

- Sourcing energy from sources like solar power, wind and hydroelectric. This should help dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of data centers
- Educating workers and management about how to be more green in these centers, but also innovating the education process of younger students and professionals so they can work to ensure these data centers will not have a gigantic carbon footprint
- Collaborate across industries to share best practices. This will help multiple companies best figure out ways to work more efficiently instead of just having one business or data center operate sustainably