Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think

Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think

Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think

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-energy

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.

By Daniel Price

(Image Source: Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com)

Follow Me!

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.
Follow Me!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.


CloudTweaks Sponsors - Find out more!

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to…

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Fast Facts

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Fast Facts

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Fast Facts It’s no secret that Cloud Computing is more than just a buzz term as that ship has sailed off a long time ago. More and more companies are adopting the uses and benefits of cloud computing while aggressively factoring cloud services spending into their budget. Included is an excellent…

Big Data Analytics Adoption

Big Data Analytics Adoption

Big Data Analytics Adoption Big Data is an emerging phenomenon. Nowadays, many organizations have adopted information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) in business to handle huge amounts of data and gain better insights into their business. Many scholars believe that Business Intelligence (BI), solutions with Analytics capabilities, offer benefits to companies to achieve competitive…

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow  Online Education is a very exciting topic for many as it opens up many new doors and opportunities. We’ve touched on areas such as Massive Open Online Sources (MOOC) which provides tremendous levels of cloud based interconnectivity. We’ve taken a look into higher education,  the increased demand for online courses as well as…

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,…


Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021
contact@cloudtweaks.com

Join our newsletter