Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

Green Technology Finland

Last week we touched upon how a project in Finland had blended two of the world’s most important industries, cloud computing and green technology, to produce a data centre that used nearby sea water to both cool their servers and heat local homes. 

Green Technology Finland

Despite such positive environmental projects, there is little doubt that large cloud data centres and social networking sites consume vast amounts of electrical power. A recent Greenpeace report claims the Apple data centre in North Carolina uses more power than 250,000 European homes combined. Estimates now predict that cloud computing is responsible for as much as 2 percent of the world’s electricity use.

Clearly, therefore, the data world uses extraordinary amounts of energy – but is it really all bad news?

No Duplication

Migrating to the cloud and sharing resources saves considerable energy costs by removing the need to power countless duplicate data centres around the world.

A report released in 2011 by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) found that North American companies who used cloud computing services achieved both a combined annual energy saving of $12.3 billion and a reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil. Indeed, not only did they achieve such large energy savings, but by moving to the cloud they also improved operational efficiency by dramatically decreasing capital expenditure on IT resources.

Supporting the CDP’s research, a joint report by Microsoft, Accenture and WSP Environment & Energy found that that a 100-person company that utilises cloud computing can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by more than 90 percent, a figure which scales to 30% for a 10,000-person workforce.

Increasing Virtualisation

Considered to be the most widely adopted green IT project that companies have either implemented or are planning to implement, virtualisation allows a single server to run multiple operating systems concurrently. The consequence is a significant reduction in the size of the physical footprint of a data centre and a substantial improvement in both energy efficiency (with less equipment drawing power) and resource efficiency (with less equipment needed to run the same workload).

When virtualisation is combined with cloud-based automation software, businesses are able push the limits of their typical consolidation and utilization ratios. The software will allow for rapid provision, movement, and scalability of workloads – hence reducing the infrastructure needed and in turn maximising energy and resource efficiencies.

The Future

Sadly, IT managers and companies don’t necessarily put green tech at the top of their IT strategies. It is estimated only 5 percent of data centres are currently green, primarily as a result of decision-making being predominantly driven by cost-savings and competitiveness. Nonetheless, cloud computing is already greener than many people would believe, but there are some steps the industry can take to become even more green.

Renewable energy is certain to play a major part. Apple has recently boasted of a target of 100 percent renewable energy company-wide, including data its data centres (its aforementioned North Carolina centre is powered by a 100-acre, 20-megawatt solar panel), and Google currently uses renewable energy to power 34% of their systems.

Latest research now suggests the cloud will continue to become increasingly environment-friendly, as the global market for green data centres is expected to grow from $17.1 billion in 2012 to $45.4 billion by 2016.

How do you think data centres of the future will be powered? Let us know in the comments below.

(Image Source: Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com)

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

View Website
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics
Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Cyber Criminals Are Business People Too

Cyber Criminals Are Business People Too

Cyber Crime Business You’re on the morning train on the way to work and take a look at the guy next to you. He’s clean-cut, wearing a crisp suit and holding a leather briefcase just like dozens of others. Just another worker headed to the office, right?. Yes, but not in the way you think…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…