Category Archives: Green Computing/Clean Tech

Finland and The Future of The Internet

Finland and The Future of The Internet

Finlands Internet Future

In so many ways, the nations of Northern Europe seem to be a few steps ahead of the rest of the world – countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are frequently singled out for praise in areas as diverse as education, technology, and sheer happiness (despite the grey skies and bitter winters). It’s no wonder, then, that Scandinavia seems to be leading the way when it comes to the future of the Internet.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Commentators have been saying for years now that there are two major developments on the horizon: cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Cloud computing is already with us, in forms that range from simple storage platforms (e.g. DropBox and Google Drive) to complex cloud-based services like SalesForce. Finland is particularly ahead of the game on the advance of cloud computing services: Eurostat reports that this country has Europe’s highest proportion of cloud computing investment, and the trend appears set to continue into the future.

Alongside cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also poised to transform the way the Internet works. It will incorporate a huge variety of objects – from wristwatches to cars to refrigerators – into existing data networks, allowing for unprecedented data collection and automatic communication. This, of course, depends on a vast increase in data infrastructure, since all these objects will be sending billions of packets of data to one another, and to cloud storage centers.

Here again, Scandinavia leads the way: Apple recently announced a €1.7 billion plan to build two new European data centers, one of which will be located in Denmark and will serve all of Northern and Central Europe (including rich and data-hungry firms in Germany). Physical infrastructure is also growing across Scandinavia, for example in the form of a high-bandwidth cable system currently being laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, which will link Germany with Finland and further increase Northern Europe’s potential as the world leader in the ongoing digital revolution.

As a reflection of this remarkable growth, Finland will play host to the 2015 NDBS Conference, which will bring together a huge variety of spaces, all with a focus on the future of digital business and development. Not only cloud computing and IoT innovators, but also traditional internet industries and high-tech manufacturing will be represented at the event. The programme of international speakers from across the featured industries will be built over the summer but already a number of high profile companies have been confirmed, such as Digital Realty, Yandex, Wi-NEXT, Deutsche Telekom, TeliaSonera International Carrier and Nissan Europe.

The 2015 NDBS conference, and other similar events, both signal Scandinavia’s prominence in the tech world and, at the same time, help to promote it.


By Gustav Steinhardt

Clean Technology Leading Towards Eco-Friendly Hosting Services Worldwide

Clean Technology Leading Towards Eco-Friendly Hosting Services Worldwide

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.” William Ruckelshaus

Clean Technology has found various definitions so far. According to Clean Edge (a clean technology research firm), it represents diverse products, processes and services, which make use of renewable energy sources and materials so that to drastically decrease wastes and emissions, and cut the use of natural resources.

Generally, Clean Technology refers to renewable energy, recycling, green transportation, information technology, lighting, green chemistry, electric motors, and a number of other energy-efficient appliances. It aims to provide sources for fuel and electricity without bringing too much pollution and harm to the environment, and to give birth to more environmentally benign and energy-efficient transportation means, infrastructure and buildings.

Going Green

Technology has been improving immensely in the recent years. This has created firm bases for eliminating the technology harm caused to the environment. With the confrontation of energy saving problems, eco-friendly cloud hosting services have become of even more importance in our modern work and life. The point is that modern IT systems consume large amounts of energy, causing a rather negative impact on the environment. One of the most vivid examples is a simple Google surf, which is so much harmful with regard to carbon footprints.

Did You Know?

1. Even when the monitor is turned off, an average desktop computer consumes 85w just to idle.
2. When your computer is left on 24 hours a day, it costs you approximately $115-$160.
3. The production of electricity is the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emission in the US.

Thus, we have no way out but enjoy the benefits of such high tech advances as SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and on-demand resource allocations in Cloud Computing, and seek after wiser and more eco-friendly solutions in the field.

Leading Countries Practicing Eco-friendly Cloud Hosting Services

Being well aware of the direct impact of computing on the environment, scientists are now obsessed with finding the best solutions to modern environmental issues. One of the first efforts in this regard is associated with the launch of the program, known as “Energy Star” (1992). The latter served as a sort of label given to computing products, which were able to cut energy consumption to a minimum while increasing efficiency. The Energy Star was applied to TV sets, computer monitors, temperature control devices, etc.

Today, companies’ computing power consumption has reached its critical points.

Overall, Clean Technology counts for such highly significant issues as:

1. Savings
2. Climate change
3. Performance tuning
4. Power reliability
5. Capacity Planning
6. Hardware reliability

German software giant SAP has already announced its willingness to power its facilities and data centers, using renewable energy and moving towards a Cloud Computing business model.

American multinational technology and consulting corporation IBM has patented a so-called “green button” solution, which is to distribute cloud services to lower-power systems in order to save environmental costs.

According to the Global Cleantech Innovation Index (2014), the following countries represent the most promising eco-friendly industries of the future and entrepreneurial startups to commercialize clean tech innovations over the next 10 years:

1. Israel
2. Finland
3. USA
4. Sweden
5. Denmark


So, why not promote energy-efficient or green computing worldwide?

By Lilit Melkonyan

Auxiliary Cloud: How The Cloud And Big Data Can Help The Elderly

Auxiliary Cloud: How The Cloud And Big Data Can Help The Elderly

Auxiliary Cloud: How The Cloud And Big Data Can Help The Elderly

Growing old can be challenging, confusing and most certainly frustrating. The ongoing economic development will account for lower birth rates worldwide and, subsequently, an increase in demand for auxiliary technologies that assist the elderly. There are already many cloud-based tools that help the elderly live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.elderly-care

To counter diminished reflexes and weakening eyesight that leads to impaired driving ability, a variety of car monitoring tools are available on the market to keep senior citizens safe on the roads. Apps such as Automatic measure driving ability by assessing the speed, acceleration time, number of hard stops, swerves, etc.

On average, more than 500 seniors are injured every day in car accidents (Source). The Cloud can help reduce this stat.

While using this information to revoke a driver’s license of a loved one may seem cruel and heartless, it is much better than needing to use the app’s built-in emergency-response feature. However, the cloud can also be used as a tool to help seniors live on their own for longer periods of time.

Cloud-based programs such as medication reminders, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) and GPS tools ensure the safety and general well-being of seniors living on their own.

Not only that. Researchers have come up with ‘magic carpets’ that notify the emergency services if an elderly resident falls; but in the Nordic countries, and recently the UK as well, a company named Abilia is offering home systems that cater to people with disabilities. The home systems are connected to caretakers and doctors via Skype, and, along with improving communication, provide people with the tools required to care for themselves—and their loved ones with a direct link to put them at ease.

LG Smart Refrigerator at CES 2011.jpgWhat about eating? How can the cloud help manage their food? There are cloud-connected refrigerators that notify the owner when certain foods are in low supply. Your fridge can send a message to you or anyone else informing them it’s high time to go shopping. It is expected that these fridges will soon be able to place an order for you and have the food delivered to your house.

The knowledge of cloud-based computing is going to take this one step further.

Currently researchers are creating a framework for a ubiquitous health care system that will allow the elderly to live alone for longer periods of time. This system will interact with the home resident, providing medical assistance, family interaction and emergency services.
The auxiliary cloud

These are just a few of the ways cloud-based computing is changing the lives of elderly and disabled everywhere. Because of cloud technologies, life will become a little safer for people living on their own.

Do you know someone who already uses the services or devices discussed above? What do you think about this, in moral terms? Let us know in the comments.

(Image Source: “LG Smart Refrigerator at CES 2011” by David Berkowitz . Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

By Lauris Veips

10 Green Cloud Computing Hosts To Consider

10 Green Cloud Computing Hosts To Consider

10 Green Cloud Computing Hosts To Consider

With the IT industry now accounting for more than ten percent of global electricity consumption, and data centres alone accounting for almost two percent, the pressure is on businesses to use the greenest possible cloud computing providers.  Here we look the green credentials of ten of the most environmentally friendly hosts available in no particular order:



This Norwegian hosting company is one of the largest in Scandinavia. It is also arguably the most environmentally friendly thanks to its use of the Green Mountain Data Centre. The data centre is the self-styled greenest data centre in the world, using hydropower to produce the required electricity and icy fjord water to cool the servers.

2. GreenQloud

Headquartered in Iceland, GreenQloud offers cloud computing services from data centres that are powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources – specifically hydropower and geothermal energy. Iceland’s geographic location also aids the company’s green credentials, with a year-round cold climate offering a natural coolant, and its mid-Atlantic position removing the need for multiple data mirrors. After being founded in 2010 the company has expanded to offer server hosting, online storage, backup, and cloud computing.

3. Google Compute Engine

Google’s data centres already use fifty percent less energy than a typical data centre by reducing their overhead energy (cooling, power conversion, etc.) usage to just twelve percent. Not only has the company made their own processes environmentally friendly, they also share information and best practices in a bid to improve the entire IT industry.

4. CloudSigma

Based out of Zurich in Switzerland, CloudSigma is plugged into one of the greenest electricity grids in the world – over 95 percent of Swiss energy is generated from nuclear and renewable sources. The company only uses certified carbon neutral cloud servers and has been recognised by Greenpeace for its dedication to environmental responsibility within the IT industry.

5. Dediserve

This Irish company has been pushing the green agenda since their founding in 2009. With seven data centres around the world they primarily offer hosting solutions to the European and North American markets. Their virtual servers consume less than 5 per cent of the power of a physical server, meaning just one Dediserve server rack is currently the same as 25 conventional server racks.

6. Windows Azure

Windows Azure is the Microsoft-powered cloud service. The company has been recognized as the second-largest green power purchaser on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership list, and clients who use their data centres will see a 30 percent drop in their carbon footprint.

7. Apple iCloud

Perfect for individuals and small businesses, Apple’s iCloud uses some of the greenest data centres on the planet. The company uses 100 percent renewable energy across all its data locations, plus 75 percent at its corporate facilities. Its new North Carolina data centre is powered by a huge solar panel farm and even occasionally becomes a net power producer for a local utility company.

8. IBM SmartCloud

IBM Smartcloud offers a fully managed, highly secure IaaS cloud which is optimized for critical enterprise workloads. In 2012 27 IBM data centres were awarded ‘Participants in Data Centre Efficiency’ by the European Commission – the largest portfolio of data centres from a single company to receive the recognition.

9. Akamai

The US-based content delivery network is one of the greenest companies in its sector. For more than ten years Akamai have taken a leading role in minimizing the environmental impact of IT systems. With several initiatives in place that are continually improving efficiency, the company now boast a grade ‘A’ for Energy Transparency from Greenpeace.

10. Rackspace

Rackspace is one of the leading names in cloud hosting, yet they also have an excellent sustainability program. In 2014 their USA-based operations were named as ‘Green Power Partners’ by the Environmental Protection Agency for the second consecutive year, while their UK data centres and offices run on 100 percent renewable energy.

What do you think? Are there any green hosting companies we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

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 /

By Daniel Price

How Companies Are Cleaning Up The Cloud And The Earth

How Companies Are Cleaning Up The Cloud And The Earth

Over the past decade, our use of the Internet has increased dramatically. Once used just for information, the Internet is now the primary source of entertainment. While most still use it to look up information, we also use the Internet to watch the latest movies and television shows through Netflix, we play games online through Steam, XBox Live, and PlayStation Network, and we stream music through Pandora and Spotify. Because of this, many companies have resorted to storing almost all of their information in the cloud. The biggest users of the cloud are exactly the companies you might expect: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple. But what exactly are they doing to clean up the cloud?


They’re Using Renewable Energy

The statistics don’t lie: By 2020, there’s going to be an estimated 50-fold increase in the amount of information we access digitally. Because these data centers need to be up constantly, they use a tremendous amount of energy. Some data centers even consume the equivalent energy use of 180,000 homes!

Three companies have started to take a stand against the massive amount of data consumed. Google and Yahoo are the first companies to take a stand and use renewable energy as they expand their reach via the cloud. Facebook, now with more than 700 million users, has also realized the importance of using renewable energy, and their data center in Sweden is powered only by renewable energy.

On the other hand, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple are all using “dirty energy“, which is essentially electrical pollution. They have no plans to switch to renewable energy anytime soon, and are all expanding with complete disregard to electricity usage. In fact, they market the cloud as “green“, which is incorrect. It may be a “green” concept for individual consumers, but that impact is just transferred over to the corporations.

Of the largest tech based companies, Dell, Yahoo, and Facebook have the highest energy index, while Apple, Amazon, Oracle, and Salesforce have the lowest.

They’re Strategically Placing Their Data Centers

When it comes to installing data centers, location matters. For companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, they’re not worried about where they expand to. For companies like Google and Yahoo, however, they take the availability of renewable energy into account. In addition, some companies are also looking at “free cooling” as an important factor. This technique allows the outside air to cool off the data center instead of wasting more energy on energy-intensive chillers.

The projected prevalence of renewable energy makes Sweden and Germany attractive to certain companies, like Facebook, Spotify, AT&T and IBM. Meanwhile, Microsoft is in the Netherlands, which has very little renewable energy.

In order to make a quick dollar, many companies are utilizing low-cost dirty energy, which increases the demand for coal, as well as the associated pollution.

Chicago has one of the top five largest data center markets in North America, even though renewable energy use is less than ten percent of all energy used in Illinois. As more companies move to Chicago, this will only get worse as more choose to use the low-cost option. Should Microsoft start a push for renewable energy use, they could make it a trend in the area, with the majority of companies switching to either renewable energy or wind power.

As most people browse the net, they most likely don’t take into account just how much data their both sending and receiving to the cloud. However, the energy is transferred to a data center, which may or may not be using renewable energy. As we continue to utilize the Internet in our day to day lives, think of the data centers that are processing this information and how they’re powered. Do you want to financially support a company that doesn’t care about the earth and utilizes dirty energy, or would you rather support a company that’s using innovative techniques to clean up the air and create a better future? The next time you have the opportunity, support the company that cares about the world that we all share.

By Miles Young

Miles is a freelance writer, tech geek and world traveler. He’s currently interested in mobile devices and satellite Internet technology. Follow him @MrMilesYoung on Twitter.

Cloud Infographic: Is Your Data Secure?

Cloud Infographic: Is Your Data Secure?

Cloud Infographic: Is Your Data Secure?

When choosing a cloud-computing provider, the data center is one of the most important factors when making a decision. The data center in the place where your information will be stored, and the point from which it will be accessed in the future. It is imperative to research the data center used by your service provider.


Is the data center close to your service provider? Are they able to freely access the building if a problem were to arise? Data centers need to be staffed at all times in order for constant monitoring and maintenance. Does the location of the site pose risks? Can it still function in extreme weather conditions such as snow and rain?


As well as a data center being constantly manned, it is also essential to know the level of security in place. What security does the physical perimeter have (gates, CCTV, locks, scanners)? You also need to be aware of in-house security, what level of security clearances do they have for staff?

Continue Reading Article… 

Attached is an excellent infographic found over at the hostwinds blog which takes a closer look inside top data center security.


Infographic Source: hostwinds

How Small Businesses Can Leverage Cloud Computing To Save Money

How Small Businesses Can Leverage Cloud Computing To Save Money

Most small businesses spend a lot on energy bills, even as much as $20,000 per year. This is extremely expensive. According to energy experts, small businesses that are struggling with such exorbitant bills need to rethink their energy policies. Saving on electricity costs can help these businesses lower their expenses. This will boost their overall revenues and efficiency for growth. But even in the face of these realities, what energy-saving models can small businesses use to lower their energy costs? The adoption of cloud computing is one of them.

IT businesses especially stand to gain a lot by adopting cloud computing. For many small businesses where manufacturing is not involved, electricity costs are mainly attributed to their IT departments. In fact, from a recent survey carried out by the CDW Corporation, 52 percent of all companies have asked their IT departments to cut down on electricity consumption-costs. Cloud computing (using work applications stored on remote servers) is a valid alternative that brings energy savings to these businesses.

Cloud computing can help businesses reduce energy-consumption costs through virtualization of essential IT functions and servers. This entails consolidating data centers virtualized through an external provider at much lower costs. According to a similar study, this helps an organization to directly cut energy consumption by as much as 28 percent. Considering small businesses spend a lot of their revenue on electricity costs, these savings can be significant, depending on the size of the organization.

The following factors are the results of virtualization and can help an organization save money by reducing its electricity costs.

  • A small business does not have to host a local server. The server needs are met by a central provider that maintains it. As a result, the small business does not have to keep the server room running at all times as is often the case. Instead, they can enjoy efficient, cost effective electricity consumption.
  • Committing work applications in the cloud encourages employees to telecommute. If your business’ work applications are hosted in the cloud, your employees can work off your business premises. This not only helps your business save on space costs, but also on energy bills.
  • Integrating cloud solutions can also help businesses reduce energy expenses they would otherwise incur if their maintained their servers. Naturally, by having all server hardware off site, cooling, conditioning, and general maintenance energy consumption are cut. Overall, this enables your businesses save costs.

Considering all these, if a small business adopts cloud solutions for their daily IT functions, they can save energy.  Therefore, if your business is struggling with huge energy expenses, its time you reconsidered your IT service functions status on the site. If it was on the cloud, you could save a lot of money and fasten your growth.

By Walter Bailey

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

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The Internet of Things Lifts Off To The Cloud

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How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

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Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

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