When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

The Cloud and Kermit: “It’s Not Easy Being Green”

The Cloud and Kermit: “It’s Not Easy Being Green”

This Thanksgiving holiday meant the arrival of a highly anticipated new film, centered on The Muppets. Many a critic has raved for the picture. My review: skip it by all means, especially if Miss Piggy and the gang occupy a special place in your hearts. The movie panders to the lowest common denominator — in this case, the dumbest three-year old you’ve ever met. Fozzy Bear fizzles out; Gonzo and his hilarious poultry do not prosper.

I digress. But I’ll note one positive aspect: Kermit keeps his respectability, and if anything is blessed with a more three-dimensional personality this time around.

As a kid, I fell for Kermit after hearing his gentle lament of a ballad, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Some decades later, I’ve noticed how the tune resonates with the cloud computing community, who’s struggled to take on the color as well.

All Kermit needs is an impressive dye job. But the cloud requires more rigorous restructuring. “Green” environmental friendliness does not yet completely harmonize with the technology.

For one thing, cloud computing still lacks an official, comprehensive method to measure its CO2 output — a key barometer in any assessment of “greenness.” Elastic Vapor clarifies that not a single dominant company within the cloud has secured, or even attempted to secure, the obligatory utilization data to track its energy efficiency.

To be fair, such a request can jar a principally cloud-based business. Tracking managerial structure, research and development, flow of virtual raw materials and completed output, and other important data proves elusive. Still, let’s locate some genius who can conjure an algorithm to jump-start this essential “green” step.

A well-meaning Forbes article made me quietly furious the other day. It spouts a barrage of reports that wax positive on the cloud’s theoretical assets for the environment. “A company that adopts cloud computing can reduce its energy consumption; … computer energy efficiency appears to be doubling every 18 months.”

Reading this, I silently screamed, “Who cares!?”

I’m all for ruminating on the could-be/maybe/possibly ideas of cloud computing. But none of these wonderland findings have translated into cold, solid, practical results. And that has me livid. Granted, cloud computing is still relatively new, and longitudinal surveys will be needed to track its progress over the years.

Yet if I’m a kid, and the cloud is my candy store, such green-teasing reports essentially relocate my potential treats to the highest shelf — out of my reach, yet not out of my gaze.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.