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The expanding scale and density of data centers has made their power consumption an imperative issue. Data center energy management has become of unprecedented importance not only from an economic perspective but also for environment conservation. The recent surge in the popularity of cloud computing for providing rich multimedia services has further necessitated the need to consider energy consumption. Moreover, a recent phenomenon has been the astounding increase in multimedia data traffic over the Internet, which in turn is exerting a new burden on the energy resources. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the techniques and approaches in the fields of energy efficiency for data centers and large-scale multimedia services. The paper also highlights important challenges in designing and maintaining green data centers and identifies some of the opportunities in offering green streaming service in cloud computing frameworks.